National Natural Resource Management System (NNRMS)

Standing Committee on Bio-Resources and Environment (SC-B)




The Planning Commission/Government of India, had recognized the need and importance of setting up a National Natural Resource Management System (NNRMS) in early 1980s, towards optimal utilisation of remote sensing along with conventional data - for management and development of natural resources of the country. In order to guide the evolution of the system, a Preparatory Committee (later renamed Planning Committee) of NNRMS (PCNNRMS) chaired by Member (Science), Planning Commission, was constituted in 1982.

PC-NNRMS had organised a National Seminar on NNRMS for an in-depth understanding of the role of remote sensing in management of natural resources, in 1983. Results of about 50 end-to-end projects were discussed and a framework for the NNRMS was outlined. A 16 point resolution was adopted during the Seminar. One of the resolutions, referred to the National Task Forces for specific applications was towards addressing the technical suitability, cost effectiveness, accuracy and the integration of remote sensing data with traditional techniques.

Following this recommendation, Task Forces for specific applications were set up. These included the Task Forces on Water Resources (Ground and Surface Water), Geology, Soil and Land Use, Urban and Rural Studies, Oceanography/Marine Resources/Coastal Studies, Agriculture, Forestry and Cartographic Representation of Data (CARD). The Task Forces submitted their reports detailing the information needs, existing conventional information system role of remote sensing etc. in each area. Task forces recommended setting up of Standing Committees for providing guidance for remote sensing operationalisation in each sector.


It was visualized, that the evolution of the National Natural Resource Management System would demand a proper coordination and efficient functioning of different elements - ranging from the space and associated ground segment (for data acquisition, processing and dissemination) to the user segment, interpretation/field equipment, software for data analysis and coordination with users at regional/state/district/sub-district levels (for integrating this information with other sets of information). To take care of these coordination aspects, 6 Standing Committees (SCs) for different themes/areas were formed by the PCNNRMS in 1984, as follows:

i)   Agriculture and Soils (SC-A)
ii)  Bio-resources and Environment (SC-B)
iii) Geology and Mineral Resources (SC-G)
iv)  Ocean Resources (SC-O)
V)   Remote Sensing Technology and Training (SC-T) and
vi)  Water Resources (SC-W)

These six Standing Committees have been reconstituted vide order Ref PC/CH/02/95 dated March 1, 1995.


In view of the availability of high resolution, stereo data from IRS-IC/ID which has made it possible to go up to 1: 12,500 scale thematic mapping and also taking in to account that very high resolution data (1m, 2.5m) would be available from satellites of near future (both Indian and Foreign missions) that would enable to go up to even 1:5000 scale for thematic applications such as - transport network mapping, urban/town mapping, rural roads mapping, Cadastral level mapping of resources cartographic-appl[cations, etc.,.three more new Standing Committees for: (a) Rural Development (b) Urban and (c) Cartography have been set up in 1997.


The Standing Committees specifically deal with the major issues on behalf of PCNNRMS and advise on the methods of using the Remote Sensing technology for operational use and for the management of the natural resources in the country. They also identify improved methods for the management of resources by integrating conventional survey data and remote sensing based information and generate specific national programs/projects.


The Standing Committee on Bio-resources and Environment (SC-B) is chaired by Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests and has Members from Ministry of Environment & Forests, Planning Commission, Department of Agriculture and Co-operation, Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources, Department of BioTechnology, State Forest Departments of Assam, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Sikkim, North-Eastern Council, Forest Survey 'Of India, Department of Space and representative of NNRMS/ISRO HQ, Bangalore as Member Secretary. So far the SC-B had identified 56 priority areas (Annexure-1) for taking up remote sensing based studies in tune with key environmental and ecological issues of the country. They encompassed forest, grassland, plant and faunal resources, wetlands, land degradation, water and air pollution, etc., information requirements for the Man and Biosphere Programme and some typical areas like mining, coastal areas, wildlife habitat etc.

NNRMS-SC-B has played a significant role in monitoring/managing the environment/ecology of our country through number of projects.


So far SC-B has met 16 times and sponsored more than 49 remote sensing application projects addressing key environmental and ecological issues such as management of forest, grassland, faunal resources, wetlands, coastal areas including mangroves and coral resources, land degradation, impact of mining and industrialization, river pollution etc. 20 projects have so far been completed, 29 projects are on-going (Annexure 11 & III). These project have been carried out mostly by Department of Space, Universities, Research Institutions, State Remote Sensing Application Centres.


As per the decision emerged at the14th Meeting of SC-13, an exercise was carried out (by a compact team, identified for the purpose), to list our thrust areas for remote sensing applications, under SC-B, during the 9th Five Year Plan., These thrust areas were considered by the SC-B in the 15'~' Meeting and were agreed to for formulating specific projects during the9th Five Year Plan.

These studies proposed to be carried out on detailed scales. Data from IRS-IC, ID and future IRS Missions would be used along with other relevant data.


List of Priority areas identified by the Standing Committee on Bio-resources and Environment (SC-B)

  1. Environmental impact of coal mines in Jharia Raniganj Coal Belt.

  2. Studies related to the impact of iron ore mining in Goa.

  3. Remote sensing studies of the environmental impact of mining bauxite and chromite mines in east coast areas.

  4. Impact of industrialisation on landuse in Madras Metropolitan areas.

  5. Changes in landuse because of urban spread and industrialisation in Ahmedabad-Vapi region.

  6. Impact of super thermal power station and mining activities on environment.

  7. Impact of industrialisation on environment in Indore-Dewas-Ujain region of Madhya Pradesh.

  8. Study of iron ore mining Bailadilla.

  9. Study of air pollution and environmental monitoring.

  10. Monitoring of coastal environment.

  11. Monitoring of Pushkar Valley Ecosystem.

  12. Environmental impact on coastal wetland on Vedaraniyam and Kutch.

  13. Ecological assessment of areas in North-eastern region.

  14. Vegetation in coastal area.

  15. National wetlands identification and mapping for conservation plans.

  16. Nation-wide mangroves identification and mapping.

  17. Identification of land slide prone areas for conservation.

  18. Mapping and monitoring of biosphere reserves.

  19. Monitoring of Amjhore Pyrite mining.

  20. Environmental impact of mining in Singrauli coal fields.

  21. Monitoring of lime stone mining in Paonta Sahib.

  22. Environmental impact of long pipelines.

  23. Impact of hydro-electric dams on vegetation.

  24. Monitoring of environmental pollution in Chandigarh.

  25. Development of Lidar for monitoring environmental pollution.

  26. Monitoring of natural resources in Doon Valley.

  27. Chatra Valley project.

  28. Bhutan Brahmaputra region.

  29. Estimation of grasslands and its productivity in hills.

  30. Biomass estimation of conifer Forests.

  31. Forest biomass in Andamans.

  32. Vegetation in Rajasthan.

  33. Biomass of teak forests.

  34. Eco-regenetation of Western Ghats.

  35. Identification and mapping of coral reefs.

  36. Vegetation cover mapping of Andaman, Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands.

  37. Remote sensing training and education.

  38. National wetlands identification and mapping for conservation plans.

  39. Nationwide mangroves identification and mapping.

  40. Identification and mapping of coral reefs.

  41. Nationwide grassland mapping. However, this project will be considered after results of the 3 studies initiated by Deptt. of Space are available.

  42. Nationwide forest cover type mapping - this project may be taken up by FSI.

  43. Monitoring and identification of shifting cultivation area in the North Eastern region - this project may be taken up by FSI.

  44. Identification and extent of terraced cultivation in parts of Northern Himalayas - this project should be referred to Standing Committee on Agriculture and Soil.

  45. Monitoring and assessment of afforestation programmes - this should be discussed with National Wasteland Development Mission.

  46. Deforestation mapping and monitoring - this should be taken up by FSI.

  47. Monitoring of desertification in North-western India - To be considered after consulting CAZRI.

  48. Identification of land slide prone areas for conservation.

  49. Mapping and monitoring of river migration and loss of land areas this project should be referred to Standing Committee on Water Resources.

  50. Wildlife Habitat Evaluation in National Park - this may be discussed with wildlife institute.

  51. Mapping and monitoring of Biosphere Reserves.

  52. Multistage estimation of forest volumes - this should be taken up by FSI.

  53. Biomass estimation studies.

  54. Vegetation cover mapping of Andainans, Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands - this should be taken up by FSI.

  55. Development of forest resources information system has already been taken up by Ministry of Environment & Forests.

  56. Remote sensing training and education - needs for the same shouid be ascertained from the State user agencies. This is, however, immediately needed for training on the use of remote sensing technology for wildlife conservation.


Standing Committee on Bio-Resources (SC-B)

1    Secretary, Dept. of Environment & Forests, MOEF            Chairman
     New Delhi - 110003

2)   Inspector General of Forests, MOEF                         Member
     New Delhi - 110003

3)   Jt. Adviser (Environ.), Planning Commission                Member
     New Delhi - 110001

4)   Horticultural Commissioner, Dept. of Agriculture           Member
     and cooperation, New Delhi - 110 001

5)   Representative of the Ministry of Non-Conventional         Member
     Energy Sources, New Delhi

6)   Representative of Department of Bio-Technology,            Member
     New Delhi- 110 001

7)   Secretary, Department of Forests, Govt. of Assam           Member
     Guwahati - 781006

8)   Secretary, Department of Forests, Govt. of Karnataka       Member
     Bangalore - 560 001

9)   Secretary, Department of Forests, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh   Member

10)  Secretary, Department of Forests, Govt. of Rajasthan       Member

11)  Secretary, Department of Forests, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh  Member

12)  Secretary, Department of Forests, Govt. of Sikkim          Member

13)  Deputy Secretary (Planning), Noril-i Eastern Council       Member
     Shillong - 793001

14)  Director, Forest Survey of India (FSI)                     Member
     Dehradun - 248001

15)  Deputy Director (Applications), NRSA                       Member
     Hyderabad - 500 037 (OR Representative)

16)  Group Director, Remote Sensing Applications group, SACASRO Member
     Ahmedabad - 380053 (OR Representative)

17)  RRSSC, DOS representative                                  Member

18)  Repr,.~sentative of NNRMS/ISRO F1Q.                        Member
     Bangalore - 560094  Secretary



On behalf of the PC-NNRMS, deals-with the issues related to resource management and advise on the methods of using the RS technology for operational resource management in the country by:

    a) examining present role of PIS in the management of natural resources specific to a SC.

    b) evaluate the information for the resource and assess how much of it can be catered to by present and future RS systems.

    c) identify improved methods of resource management by adopting newer techniques of data analysis, integration and modelling and also address the integration of information from RS and information from other sources

    d) generate the framework of an information system for resources management/decision making at different levels in the concerned resource sector including the aspects of information needs, input parameters, modelling and transformations, output formats and parameters. Here, the role of GIS and integrated modelling needs to be addressed.

    e) generate national programs/projects with identified sources of funding for achieving the above in the framework of the NNRMS.

PC-NNRMS may assign additional tasks to these SC-B as and when required. Chairman of the SCs may co-opt members for specific meetings, if necessary.