Global climate change, habitat loss, and human disruptions, such as pollution and deforestation, can cause wildlife fragmentation and extinction and threaten the biodiversity of the earth. GIS technology is an effective tool for managing, analyzing, and mapping wildlife data such as population size and distribution, habitat use and preference, changes in habitats, and regional biodiversity. The ability to overlay such data makes GIS instrumental in delineating relationships between wildlife and outside forces, enabling the visualization of both where conservation practices need to be implemented and what current protection plans are effective.
Best Practices: GIS for Wildlife Conservation [PDF]
Monitoring Protected and Endangered Species
With every species lost to extinction, the earth loses a valuable component of the biodiversity that supports its environment. GIS offers an indispensable means of tracking threatened animals to help prevent further harm or even extinction. Since habitat analysis is crucial to understanding changes in a species’ demographics, the ability of GIS technology to handle the various data of a habitat and create visual depictions gives the user the ability to monitor change and discover important relationships. Understanding threatened species is important in preventing their extinction and revitalizing their populations. Esri’s GIS software ArcGIS for Server makes sharing pertinent wildlife data on the Web easy and accessible and spreads the conservation movement across the globe.
Conserving wildlife populations often consists of restoring or protecting threatened habitats. The visualization ability of both thematic and statistical data makes GIS technology well suited to monitoring habitats. Once an area is found to be suffering from human disruption, weather, forest fires, or other interferences, it can be targeted as an area for conservation practices to be implemented.
The earth’s biodiversity is its guarantee of survival. When deforestation, extinction, and fragmentation harm this biodiversity, the strength of the environment diminishes. GIS technology enables monitoring of wildlife and their habitats so that threats to biodiversity can be tracked and policies can be implemented to protect threatened areas.