Ecoinformatics lab


The Ecoinformatics Lab at ATREE facilitates geospatial analysis to address environmental conservation questions. The Lab actively collaborates with researchers within and outside ATREE to build comprehensive spatial information about India's environment. We envision the Lab as a knowledge hub for application of geospatial technologies in interdisciplinary conservation research.

Lab objectives

  • Enable the use of geospatial analytical tools to enhance the value of social, ecological and interdisciplinary research and outreach activities conducted at ATREE
  • Conduct and assist in applied research on conservation planning and spatial ecological modelling
  • Assemble, organize and disseminate information (ecological, biophysical, and socio-economic) in appropriate formats for a wide range of users interested in conservation and management of natural resources
  • Build capacity among environmental professionals in the use of spatial analytical tools and modelling

Strengths

The lab is managed and run by well-trained personnel with expertise in building and analyzing complex data sets to address research questions in ecology, biodiversity conservation and socio-economic studies related to agro-ecosystems. They facilitate research projects conducted by ATREE faculty and staff, as well as collaborate with researchers in other organizations for in-depth studies on natural systems.

The lab has extensive GIS, Remote Sensing and modelling software resources including ESRI ArcGIS, ERDAS Imagine, IDRISI, and MapInfo. The lab has been an IDRISI resource centre for the past six years, and continues to provide service and training in the use of IDRISI in RS-GIS projects. The Lab conducts beginner and advanced level courses in Remote Sensing, GIS and GPS for students and practitioners.

Projects

From modelling biodiversity distribution and land cover change, to assessing ecosystems and developing complex tools to quantify ecosystem functions, the Ecoinformatics Lab at ATREE has been actively applying a wide range of geospatial techniques to address natural resource management questions. Much of this work has contributed to scientific publications and reports produced by various teams at ATREE. The Lab has recently led a team of programmers, GIS analysts, conservationists and designers in building the India Biodiversity Portal, a website endorsed by the National Knowledge Commission. The website aims to provide an interactive platform for dissemination of India's biodiversity information and encourage participation by citizen groups.

Research facilitated by Ecoinformatics lab

The Lab actively collaborates with other faculty in ATREE in several research programmes in the use of remotely sensed data and geographic information systems for spatial data analysis and for the development of useful tools for consistent, replicable and cost-effective monitoring, assessment and management of tropical biodiversity. Some of this work is chronicled at the http://www.ecoinfoindia.org/research.php under the following heads: Classifying and Mapping Forests, Quantifying Landscape Heterogeneity, Modelling of Species Distribution. Click here for more details on GIS/ RS.

Capacity building

1. Courses
The Ecoinformatics Lab organizes courses in application of spatial sciences in conservation research for Ph D students at ATREE. This elective course provides both theoretical and hands-on training in remote sensing, GIS and associated disciplines.

In addition to this, the Lab collaborates with various institutions to provide short term courses as part of the institutions' academic programme. Courses have been organized for the M.Sc. programme in Wildlife Biology & Conservation offered by National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) and the Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS). The Lab collaborates with School of Ecology and Conservation at GKVK, Bangalore to offer a course on application of remote sensing for M.Sc. Students of the Department of Environmental Science, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore.

A short module on ecological informatics was conducted on December 5th 2008 as part of a refresher course in forestry for IFS cadres. This was organized by the Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore. The course participants were decision makers in forestry from all over the country. The course provided an overview of the upcoming field of ecological informatics and discuss biodiversity databases, analytical tools, repositories, and web-enabled technologies for forest management and information dissemination.

2. Workshops
http://www.ecoinfoindia.org/workshops.php

Information, dialogue and feedback contact
Coordinator
Ecoinformatics Lab,
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment
Royal Enclave, Sriramapura, Jakkur Post, Bengaluru 560064, India
Tel: (91) 80 23635555, Fax: (91) 80 23530070
Email: muneeswaran(dot)m(at)atree(dot)org

Useful links
Lab projects: http://www.ecoinfoindia.org/research.php
Outreach and dissemination of eco-information: India Biodiversity Portal