Theimportance of plants to humans and just about all other life on Earth isstaggering. Aside from supplying food to nearly all terrestrial organisms theyalso play an important role in maintaining the atmosphere, recycling matter inbiogeochemical cycles, creating habitats for several organisms and providingresources in the form of firewood, timber, fibres, medicines, dyes, pesticides,oils, and rubber. Located in the industrial hubof the historical town of Neemrana, and being part of Rajasthan (driest regionin India), NIIT University faces several challenges such as the depletion ofground water at an average rate of 1.4 meters each year due to risingpopulation, industry pollution, water intensive practices, depleting tree coverand an annual rainfall of less than 600mm. Even though the 100 acre ‘GreenCampus’ has facilities like green air conditioning, drip irrigation, treefarming, solar water heating, check dams, variable frequency drives, buildingmanagement systems, water, waste paper and kitchen food waste recycling plantsand much more, the need for accurate monitoring of plant cover and quality iscrucial to understanding the changes in the landscape over the years. GeographicInformation Systems (GIS) not only support analysis but can also be used formonitoring and managing the biodiversity of a region.
A variety of plantspecies in the university were spotted and their accurate GPS locations were notedto map their geographical distribution through creation of a web applicationusing GIS. Detailed attribute data was collected by ground survey using GPS andintegration was done using ArcGIS 10.4.
1. This was published on the internetthrough the ArcGIS Online platform harnessing the capabilities of the WebAppBuilder for ArcGIS as a dynamic & user-friendly web application whichcan be accessed from both desktop as well as mobile devices for handy referenceand use by people in general.Biodiversityrefers to the general changeability among living beings from various sources,including earthly, amphibian, marine and several other biological communitiesand the ecological complexes of which they are part, which comprises ofdiversity inside species, between species, and of biological communities. It isthe result of 3.5 billion years of evolution which has been subject to severalperiods of extinction. It is evident that today, the earth’s biodiversity is ingrave danger due to reasons like habitat destruction, pollution, humanoverpopulation, over-harvesting, invasive species and climate change.
Manystudies suggest that more than thirty percent of the earth’s species will beextinct by the year of 2050. The important thing to realize is that all elementswhether small or big in an ecosystem are inter-connected with each other. Evenif a small section of the ecosystem is affected, the whole balance isthreatened. This rationalizes the fact that biodiversity is essential for theprosperity of life on earth and there is a pressing need to take action topreserve the spectacular biodiversity of our planet Earth. Economic policiesmust be created in order to maintain our planet’s biodiversity and take necessarymeasures to protect habitats and species.