Conserving nature and wildlife through participatory GIS

IUCN Bangladesh is working with participatory geographic information systems (GIS) and mapping applications to improve spatial planning for community-based conservation projects.

Shahriar Rahman, GIS Associate, IUCN Bangladesh, works with community members to validate the GPS data. Photo: IUCN Bangladesh

The “Action research for conservation of Asian elephants in Bangladesh” project is using global positioning system (GPS), remote sensing (RS) and GIS techniques to generate maps that show movement corridors and routes for Asian elephants in known areas of human-elephant conflict in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Participatory sessions with the community are being conducted to track movements of elephants and validate GPS data.

Using these techniques, IUCN Bangladesh is also able to obtain detailed information about land use in known areas of human-elephant conflict. The resultant maps show crop and infrastructure damage caused by elephants and other locations that are regularly visited by the species.

The details afforded by these techniques provide a clear picture of the environment for more effective project implementation. “The generated thematic maps focus on tracks and corridors, crop damaged by Asian elephants and locations where Asian elephants are seen frequently,” says Shahriar Rahman, GIS Associate, IUCN Bangladesh.

Similarly, detailed land use maps have been generated for the coastal areas of south Bangladesh – Naltona, Char Kukri Mukri, Sukchar-Burirchar and Roypur Union, which have greatly enriched the implementation of the “Management Plan for Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change through Coastal Afforestation” project.

Using high resolution satellite images, advanced cartographic and GIS analysis, IUCN Bangladesh has been able to create visual representations of proposed plans identifying agricultural and aquaculture plots, proposed mangrove, ditch-dyke and strip plantations for each area to better determine the resultant effects and for better planning.

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