New Tools For

Modern tools such as satellite remote sensing and GIS have been providing newer dimensions to effectively monitor and manage natural resources. It has been well conceived that remote sensing and GIS have great role to play in agro-ecological zoning for sustainable development due to multi-stage character of the comprehensive approach to agro-ecological zoning (Pratap et al., 1992). Several approaches of AEZ in past involved manual integration of agro-climatic and other natural resource data (Mavi, 1984; Venkateswaralu et al., 1996). As a result, large amount of agro-ecological data could not be handled easily and aggregation was required at an early stage in the analysis. This led to loss of information on spatial variability. On the other hand, GIS technology is very useful for automated logical integration of bio-climate, terrain and soil resource inventory information (Patel et al., 2000). The system is capable of containing all data required to solve resource management problems. Topographic maps, land resource map and contour map having physiographic, geographic and bio-climatic information forms primary input for GIS for agro-ecological zoning activities. The system also facilitates the enlargement of a particular geographic pocket to render more details on retrieval. After collecting the basic data on zonal resource information, the data can be manipulated to create relevant profiles of applied use that can be retrieved on demand. A zonal database can also be integrated with non-geographic information such as socioeconomic data, which is relevant for making decision on development priority interventions about the sustainable management of zonal resources. Remote sensing provides digital or hard copy data base information on natural resources. This information can be stored and retrieved as and when required and also data can be classified and aggregated for any number of planning exercises. This AEZ concept involves the representation of land in layers of spatial information and combination of layers of spatial information using geographic information system (GIS).

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