The Department of Space (DOS) and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) as an important initiative to develop baseline database for important landscapes in India have undertaken Biodiversity characterization at landscape level using satellite remote sensing and GIS. The project aimed at preparing vegetation type map using two season IRS LISS-III data , collection of species level distribution, economic use and uniqueness information using stratified random sampling approach, conjunctive analysis of fragmentation, neighbourhood properties of vegetation habitats(type) along with disturbance sources, topographical information and field information in geospatial domain to identify biological richness areas. Study has been undertaken as a collaborative effort of 52 universities/national institutions.
The digital map of the vegetation type is supplemented by the information collated from the 5,000 sample plots using stratified random sampling. Number of species in the herb, shrub, climber and trees layers were estimated. The endemic and threatened species were 145 and 44, respectively. About 374 medicinally important species were identified. The location of high disturbance has been demarcated.
Besides availability through state wise reports, the information is available on IBIN website, launched formally by the Minister of state in August 2006. It contains exhaustive database on species. Under the project around 125 vegetation types have been mapped and in Phase-III around 35 types are being mapped. National Vegetation type map has been prepared. Around 6,000 species database has been generated during Phase-II. Very high and high biological richness and disturbance area were identified for conservation and bio-prospecting prioritization.