Kerala Biodiversity Board plans climate change study

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 8 : The Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) has initiated steps for a study on climate change in the Western Ghats area.

Udayasankar S. Nair, renowned climate change expert at the Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Alabama and one who has worked in association with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the US led the discussion Wednesday to explore viability, opportunities, technological and scientific requirements of crowd sourcing for ecological research in the Western Ghats region.

Crowd sourcing is the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.

Nair pointed out that traditional methods for collection of ground data-based information are through field surveys.

"However, the increasing availability of mobile devices with global positioning and photographic capabilities provide opportunities for utilisation of crowd sourcing for ecological researches. Remote sensing of land cover and land-use change is one such application where use of ground truth data is needed," said Nair.

The workshop also discussed the use of smart phones to acquire data for studying how the landscape is changing due to human activities.

KSBB Chairman Oommen V. Oommen emphasised the need of the hour is to conserve and protect the Western Ghats area.

"For our proposed study, we will associate with experts like Nair and his department for a pilot project in the Western Ghats area shortly," said Oommen.

Western Ghats is one of the world's newest United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation world heritage sites. It is home to at least 325 globally threatened flora, fauna, bird, amphibian, reptile and fish species.

The Ghats run through the entire state from the hills of Wayanad in northern Kerala to the southern Sahyadri peak.

"The workshop discussed development of mobile application would allow even school children to acquire data to be used for research. Mobile application could also be used to collect data required for studying climate change impact on endangered species in the Western Ghats," said KSBB member secretary K.P. Laladhas.

--IANS (Posted on 08-08-2013)

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