MoEFCC gives approval for study by BNHS to develop portal of 3D profiles of migratory birds

MoEFCC gives approval for study by BNHS to develop portal of 3D profiles of migratory birds

THREE-DIMENSIONAL profiles of migratory bird species will be developed under a project approved by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) to chart migratory birds’ pathway across 17 states, including 77 wetlands and land sites in the Central Asian Flyway (CAF).

The project, called the ‘Bird sensitivity mapping tool’ study, will enable collection of preliminary data related to each species, their pathway flight pattern, bird ringing, colour collaring and flagging, along with geocoding of satellite images onto one portal. The 3D profiles of these birds will be able to show their movement, obstructions, plains, wetlands among others.

The three-year study worth Rs 3.9 crore will be conducted by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) while the 3D profiling will be developed by the Accenture lab in Bengaluru.

The study was announced on the sidelines of the five-day International Conference on Wetlands and Migratory Waterbirds of the Asian Flyways in Lonavala on Monday.

Flyways are used by groups of birds or single species during their annual cycle, which includes breeding areas, stopover areas and wintering zones.

The 3D mapping study will help understand the site suitability for infrastructure projects such as setting up solar power plants, windmills (onshore or offshore) and impact on breeding and safe zone sites. It will also be useful for airline operators for bird alerts, to avoid bird strikes and to identify vulnerable areas.

“The mapping can give states and the Centre real-time information on bird movement, seasonality, flock size; it will help include better mitigation methods. At a later stage, it will be useful for urban planning, planning for the safety of wetlands. Today, this information is not available in a unified manner on any platform. It either rests with us, WWF (World Wildlife Fund), SACON (Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History) and a handful of people,” said Deepak Apte, director, BNHS.

The mapping tool is a part of the National Action Plan (2018-2023) for the CAF, aimed at protection of migratory birds. CAF is one of the nine migratory flyways identified under the Convention of Migratory Species (CMS). It covers migratory bird routes across 30 countries with around 80 per cent routes passing through India.

Apte added that the aim was to enhance conservation methods of these wetlands. The decision is a precursor to the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS), an environment treaty under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme to be held in Gandhinagar, in February, next year.