Kodagu chosen for pilot study of National Forest Monitoring System

FSI working with Nasa to generate specific fire alerts

Forest Survey of India (FSI) has chosen Kodagu in Karnataka to implement the theoretical model of the National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS).

E Vikram, deputy director, FSI, Deharadun on Thursday said the draft modules prepared by FSI under the NFMS include checking the tree cover, growing stock, carbon footprint, soil erosion and capacity building. “We have chosen one hectare of land in Kodagu for the year long study. The report will be submitted to the Ministry of Environmental and Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC). After which it will replicated in all the nodal states and then across India,” he said.

Six nodal states chosen by FSI for the project are Karnataka, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Meghalaya.

Gupta said that to have a robust NFMS, the FSI has initiated a technical cooperation programme for strengthening national forest inventory and monitoring protocols and capacities in the country under the overall guidance of the MoEFCC.

The technology to assess and issue alerts of forest fire has received good response from forest officials across the country. The fire alert system was started in February by FSI. Within a month, 10,500 forest officials from across the country have registered to receive alerts, Vikram said.

Speaking at a workshop on “Developing Forest Monitoring System” organised by Technical Cooperation Programme of Food Agricultural Organisation of FSI, he said that the modus used to get fire information is through SNPP-VIRS satellite sensors and American satellites. The resolution of tracking locations have also increased. All this will help in getting more real time data. The number of alerts issued to the Forest department staffers has also increased to every 45 minutes.

Officials from Karnataka state forest department inquired about how could the data be made more specific, explaining the acreage and intensity.

Vikram said they were working with NASA to get information on the intensity of the fire, how high or low it is. This will take some time to materialise.

Saibal Das Gupta, Director General, FSI, urged all state government officials to register with FSI for fire data. Only around 300 officers from Karnataka have registered for the forest alert system so far.

3-member team to probe forest fire
R S Suresh, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests said that a three member team had been formed by Forest Minister Ramanath Rai to probe the forest fire incidents in Bandipur Tiger Reserve and other parts of the state. The biggest question before the department is who set the forest on blaze and why, he said.

It is said that the minister has also sought for CID inquiry into the forest fire incidents.

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