For years we have been hearing about the use of GPS technology to track animals in their natural habitats in an effort to study their behavior and movement patterns. Such information helps biologists and ecologists know better how to protect and provide for the earth’s vast array of wildlife. But are we going too far when we start using GPS to track trees? The Haryana Forest Department in northern India does not think so.

istock_000001695201xsmallAs one of the wealthiest states in India, Haryana is primarily an agricultural society with an abundance of deciduous forests. The variety of trees includes mulberry, eucalyptus, pine, shisham, and babul. Shisham, also known as Indian Rosewood is one of the most important species of trees for India; on a par with teak wood, its value lies in cabinet making and veneers, not to mention fuel wood.

Every part of the babul tree is valued by the Indian people; its young leaves and branches are used for cattle fodder, its bark and gum are used for medicinal purposes, and its timber is used for making furniture and carts. It too is a valuable fuel wood. Haryana is also home to Asia’s largest paper mill, which means the processing of lots of trees.

With so much of its assets tied up in trees, Haryana is looking to have better management of its forests and tree reserves. By joining forces with the Haryana State Remote Sensing Application Center and the National Remote Sensory Center, the Haryana Forest Department hopes to get all the information about its plant life in digital form and on the internet. The department will combine GPS tracking technology with Management Information Systems (MIS) to keep track of the state’s nurseries as well as the number of plants in each nursery; they will record all trees under the jurisdiction of the forest department and provide details of the plantation, for example, how much time is used in the care of a particular tree. The forest department will then be better able to assess damage caused by disease, natural disaster, or unauthorized clearing.

Though some may argue that it is senseless and a waste of money to track an immobile object, arborists argue that the information gathered from such systems will enable them to better care for and manage the tree reserves. Without proper care and knowledge, whole species of trees could be wiped out. Natural resources could diminish, and Haryana’s economy could falter. The Haryana Forest Department sees GPS tracking as key to maintaining its vitality.

Article Written by Hilary Mayfield

Categories: GPS Tracking Devices , GPS Tracking News
Tags: babul tree , india , Trees