How is GIS used in Conservation Biology?


Wildlife, particularly those classified as rare, threatened, or endangered, are increasingly suffering the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation as people continue to modify the environment at a rapid pace. Scientists have agreed that habitat loss has been the primary cause of species extinction worldwide for a long time. 

As a result, it is becoming more apparent that our current species conservation methods are insufficient for maintaining biodiversity and naturally functioning ecosystems. 

According to a review of current scientific research, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are essential instruments in accelerating efforts to preserve species diversity.

What is Geographic Information Systems (GIS)?

A geographic information system (GIS) creates, manages, analyses, and maps various data types. GIS ties data to a map by combining geodata (where objects are) with several forms of descriptive data (what things are like there).

This lays the groundwork for mapping and analysis, which is utilized for research in nearly every business. Users may utilize GIS to comprehend better trends, relationships, and the context of their location. 

Improved communication and efficiency, as well as better management and decision-making, are all advantages.

How GIS is Being Used in Conservation Biology

Wildlife biodiversity is threatened by habitat loss, global climate change, and human disturbances such as pollution and deforestation, resulting in fragmentation and extinction. Here are some of the ways GIS is causing a stir in the conservation world.

1. Using GIS to Predict Wildlife Movement

Wildlife is unconcerned with the limits constructed by humans. When highways are built across the habitats of large, free-ranging animals, such as bears, it frequently results in numerous fatalities.

In this situation, GIS is critical to identifying a workable solution. GIS software has been used to create suitability maps identifying the places animals were most likely to select as crossing points. 

Animal movement data may also be used to develop and evaluate models that anticipate the most likely connection sites utilized by bears, lowering construction costs and reducing road-kill. 

This sort of study emphasizes the practical use of GIS models over manual and time-consuming data collection methods.

2. Monitoring the Progress/Status of Conservation Efforts

Users may utilize GIS to define conservation targets, create conservation goals for specific places, and track how these actions progress over time. 

It is critical to design our towns and maintain natural spaces and protected areas for a healthy environment and sustainable life as our population rises. GIS helps in tracking the current state of an area as well as predicting or planning future requirements. 

Consider the following scenario on a smaller scale: you discover an area of your land that appears to be a suitable bird habitat. Using GIS, you can create a map showing birds' most frequented places over several days. Later, you may use this knowledge to place bird feeders in high-traffic locations or areas where you want to see more birds.

3. Mapping Species Populations and Distribution

The distribution of threatened and common animal populations, native plant distribution, and invasive or alien vegetation occurrences are all plotted over time and across regional areas.

Property managers can use GIS to conserve vulnerable environments and populations in the middle of development, such as on recreational grounds (e.g., golf courses). 

Species invasions can also be studied by simulating the rate of population increase and displaying species distribution data across time.

Shape the Future of Conservation With Data

Changes in economic activity must occur on a global scale that promotes habitat and resource conservation to reduce the impact of human activity on an increasingly fragile world.

When all information systems become Geographic Information Systems powered, conservation biology's major blockades will be slowly torn down, ensuring a viable future for all of Earth's inhabitants.

Ellipsis Drive is happy to play its part in pushing the world closer to a sustainable future. Are you looking for a collaborative solution for your area's geospatial data visualization needs? Get in touch with us today!