Technology for Solving Problems in Forests and Protected Areas

Praveen Jha, Special Secretary, IT, Government of Jharkhand

There are too many problems, conflicts and pressures on the forests/PAs. All the forests/PAs are, in general, under severe degradation; ecosystem and ecology are degrading. Both fauna and flora are facing the brunt with equal helplessness. Bio-diversity loss in general and loss of wild animals in particular are reasons of genuine concern. Human as well as domestic animal population, living inside, and on the fringes of the forests/PAs, create immense biotic pressure. They depend on the forests/PAs for fuel wood, fodder, timber, Non- Timber Forest Produce (NTFP), etc. Lack of development in these villages on top of a sense of alienation has forced people to adopt apathetic attitude towards any policy intervention. There is immense pressure due to mining, communication network, invasive species, water scarcity, tourism, infrastructure development, etc.

The need of the hour is to provide an integrated solution to loads of problems in the forests in general and in the Protected Areas (PAs) in particular in the most scientific, objective and effective manner so that the management prescriptions incorporating policy interventions may prove to be highly successful. Several cutting-edge technological programs, developed by Mr Praveen Jha, IFS, could be applied to provide comprehensive solution. Three state-ofthe- art geo-spatial programs Multi-Algorithms Automation Program (MAAP), Data Automatic Modification Program (DAMP) and Multi- Stage Simulation Program (MUSSIP) developed to address the pertinent issues of conservation and sustainability could be used extensively. Based on satellite data, MAAP produces Land Use/Land Cover (LULC) map of the present period, MAAP in conjunction with DAMP produces LULC maps of the past periods as well as of the adjacent areas, whereas MUSSIP produces simulated data (including LULC and human inhabitations) of the future periods. Water Analysis Program (WAP), a hydrology modeling program could also be used extensively to generate information related to watershed, water flow and water accumulation.

Probable Solutions

The following aspects could be looked into simultaneously for finding longterm comprehensive solution:

>> How could impacts of agents of change on the forests/PAs be quantitatively assessed for the future time periods?

>> What management strategy incorporating policy interventions could be prescribed for optimally managing the forests/PAs in an integrated manner?

>>What would be the cost of implementing these policy interventions? With financial constraints, what best possible management strategy incorporating policy interventions could be prescribed for optimally managing the forests/PAs in an integrated manner?

Financial support needed for implementing these policy interventions could also be estimated.


Geo-spatial data generated through the application of advanced technologies like MAAP, DAMP, MUSSIP and WAP, and through survey, etc., could serve as Decision Support System (DSS) for developing scientific plans related to the objectives of the project area. Taking various drivers of change for the two time periods into account, MUSSIP could generate simulated data (both spatial and tabular data) for the future periods. Under Scenario Analysis, the trends in various drivers of change could be incrementally changed and consequent simulated data for the future periods could be generated through the application of MUSSIP.

Appropriate management strategy incorporating policy interventions for optimally managing the project area in an integrated manner for the present and the future periods based on simulation and scenario analysis, taking all the agents of change, could be generated. Planning for protection of green areas could also be done by generating the vulnerability maps. Planning for other aspects like employment, socioeconomic development of people living inside and on the fringes of the forests/PAs and institutional framework could be simultaneously addressed. Water could be managed through the application of WAP by generating information related to watershed, water flow and water accumulation. Financial accounting could also be done for each year and the Net Present Value (NPV) could be found out so that adequate financial support may be arranged for timely implementation of the management strategy.

Such management strategy, based on the cutting- edge scientific technology, could certainly benefit forests/PAs incredibly, paving way for conservation, development and immense satisfaction of people simultaneously, reinforcing government’s proactive commitment towards sustainable development.