Effective Management of Trans boundary Landscapes – Geospatial Applications
Keywords: Transboundary landscape, remote sensing GIS, ecological monitoring, landscape assessment, ecosystem services
Abstract. The Convention on Biological Diversity advocates the use of landscape and ecosystem approaches for managing biodiversity, in recognition of the need for increased regional cooperation. In this context, ICIMOD and regional partners have evolved Transboundary Landscape concept to address the issues of conservation and sustainable use of natural resources and systems (e.g., biodiversity, rangelands, farming systems, forests, wetlands, and watersheds, etc.). This concept defines the landscapes by ecosystems rather than political/administrative boundaries. The Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region is extremely heterogeneous, with complex inter linkages of biomes and habitats as well as strong upstream-downstream linkages related to the provisioning of ecosystem services. Seven such transboundary landscapes, identified across west to east extent of HKH, have been considered for programmatic cooperation, include: Wakhan, Karakoram-Pamir, Kailash, Everest, Kangchenjunga, Brahmaputra-Salween, and Cherrapunjee- Chittagong. The approach is people centered and considers the cultural conservation as an essential first step towards resource conservation efforts in the region. Considering the multi-scale requirements of study, the geospatial technology has been effectively adopted towards: (i) understanding temporal changes in landscapes, (ii) long term ecological and social monitoring, (ii) identifying potential bio corridors, (iii) assessing landscape level vulnerability due to climatic and non-climatic drivers, and (iv) developing local plans on extractions of high value economic species supporting livelihoods, agroforestry system and ecotourism, etc. We present here our recent experiences across different landscapes on assessment of three decadal changes, vegetation type mapping, assessment of socio-ecological drivers, corridor assessment, ecosystem services assessment, models for optimal natural resource use systems and long term socio-ecological monitoring.