It is important in this report to highlight the relevance of GIS ( Geographic Information System) and Remote sensing, that is exlaining the role of remote sensing in species health of an ecological area by the use of electromagnetic spectrum, thus to determine whether remote sensing and GIS technologies could be used to model a habitat distribution or show the prevalence or disrtibution of a plant or animal species.
Although, to ensure long term sustainability of a healthy ecosystem, a holistic approach is needed in addressing multiple issues concerning land use, access, recreation, and the most important of all the protection of the ecological characteristics of the area must be considered in mangenent planning of an ecological area. Delparte, D.M. (1996).
As such GIS can assist in this process through the inbuilt power of GIS as an analytical tool, thus the challenges involved in developing a functional GIS is to facilitate a protected areas management decision making given an instance with the fanshawe gate farm, by representing solutions obtained through wide-ranging data manipulation and analysis in a clear and concise format. However, implementing management strategies will sustain the ecological integrity of fanshawe gate farm.
According to John R, and Andrew J (2010),the fanshawe gate farm is a small non-intensively managed livestock farm, the fanshawe gate farm was entered into the countryside stewardship scheme about four years ago under the education access provision, however, the country side stewardship advisor recommended to the owner to search for advice on management of the farm through preserving and conservation of the ecological environment of the area, that is taking care of the floral and fauna community of the area.
In addition survey of grassland of fanshawe gate farm was conducted using NVC methodology was undertaken in 2002, and there is no survey that has been carried out on the presence of fauna(animals) in the farm. The present owners purchased the farm in 1992, at that time the land was in poor condition which in turn affected the ecological distribution of habitats of plants and animal in the farm. The owners were very much in favour of nature conservation and have attempted to ensure that management is considerate towards conserving the natural habitat of the farm. However, the owners have other employment so the management of the land is left to a local farmer as such this tend to be a pending problem in conserving and management of the farm, thus, restricting their control over the detail of management of the farm. Fanshawe Gate Farm lies to the south west of Sheffield. John R, and Andrew J (2010),
Below is a map showing the boundaries of the fanshawe gate farm
Fanshawe Gate Farm Boundaries
The map above shows the boundaries of the fanshawe gate farm showing the areas which were entered into the Countryside Stewardship Scheme.
From the above map it clearly shows the boundaries of the Fanshawe gate farm and areas which were entered into the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, the areas from the map above with the blues lines are the areas entered into the Countryside Stewardship Sheme, and it is divided into fields 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,.
In addition, according to John R and Andrew,J (2010) it is believed that fields 1, 2 and 4 were cultivated shortly after the Second World War but have not been ploughed in the last 50 years. The fields are managed for silage with a cut taken in late June. The fields are then grazed in the autumn, however, Field 3 was ploughed in 1992 and a crop of potatoes grown. The field was then re-sown with grass, it did not prove easy to get the grass to re-establish and it was not until 1994 when the grass was under sown to a wheat crop (i.e. a grass wheat mix was sown and the wheat subsequently harvested leaving the grass) that an acceptable sward was achieved.
Field 3 is managed for silage with a cut normally taken in late June. More so, the yield is not good and so it is not possible to take a crop every year. Field 3 is grazed in the autumn.
And finally, Fields 5 and 6 of Fanshawe gate farm are known not to have been ploughed for at least 50 years and, given the slopes of parts of these fields, may never have been cultivated. They are used for grazing. Field 7 was previously managed as pasture; however, the area has been completely unmanaged for at least 12 years.
Haven highlighted the relevant background of Fanshawe Gate Farm; the major task of this report is to produce a description of land entered into the Countryside Stewardship scheme at fanshawe gate farm by making use of GIS (Geographic Information System) techniques, coordinates of 106 points where taken at different point on the farm with the aid of a GPS to find the presence of two species of Tormentil (Potentilla erecta) and Heath bedstraw (Gallium saxatile), in addition a quadrat sampling was performed using a quadrat.
GIS technique using choropleth map is applied to show the abundance of a species at each point, as such this will provide information on the distribution of these species, it was also possible to interpolate the distribution of species between the sample points, all these procedures would be higlighted in due course in the report.
GPS (GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM):
Technological innovations have improved the methods by which positional information can be obtained, circling the world today are satellites whose positions are known with great accuracy, thus these satellites receive radio transmissions from fields units on earth and return a signal that is processed by a nearby ground station which is then sent to the field unit as a set of coordinates. Demers, M, N. (2005).
In addition, the coordinates give the positional location as well as the elevational location, which provide a very useful set of data while performing the quadrant sampling of finding out the presence of the two species of Tormentil (Potentilla erecta) and Heath bedstraw (Gallium saxatile) on the fanshawe gate farm. The GPS depends for its accuracy and precision on the number of sattelites. As such the GPS is used to give the positional information in a fixed coordinate in order to obtain the presence of the two plant species, because the GPS is an important source of primary data input to the GIS database especially primary data sources as in the case of point cordinates obtained in fanshawe gate farm.
An increasing number of GIS practioners are discovering the improved utility og GIS as a method of visualizing spatial and spatio-temporal data DeMers, (2002), however there are capability of GIS to display geographic patterns, as in the case of displaying raster maps that show the distribution of species in the fanshawe gate farm.
In addition a similar pattern is through the use of a range of remote sensing techniques correlated to the use of GPS devices on-board tractors and other farm machinery, the sensors relay electromagnetic signals designed to detect, for example deficiency in nutrients of plants, areas of pest damage or location in the field requiring additional drainage, as such the GPS provides detailed information about exactly where, within the fields these locations occur. DeMers,M.N (2005).
It is important to explain the relevance of Georeferncing in GIS, since it is vital to identify specific location in the surface of the earth and measurement of these locations, because geographic location is the aspect that differentiates geographic information from other types of information, which is in turn relevant for creation of a useful geographic information.
Any form of geographic information must entail some kind of georeferenced, thus it is important to understand the regular methods used in georeferencing and also understand the merits and demerits of using such methods. Many of GIS application strongly depends on accurate georeferencing, that is the ability to relate different items of information together through common geographic location, however, it is the capability to measure distances on the surface of the earth which will in turn perform more difficult forms of analysis, and the ability to communicate geographic information in ways that can be understood easily. Longley et al, (2005).
The essence of carrying out quadrat sampling in fanshawe gate farm is to find out the presence of two plant species that is:
- Tormentil (Potentilla erecta)
- Heath bedstraw (Gallium saxatile)
in the habitat of fanshawe gate farm. It is usually impossible to go and count each and every plant specie present in the farm, as such in order to solve the problem of finding out the presence of these two species in fanshawe gate farm the problem was solved by taking a number of samples from around the habitat of fanshawe gate farm. In order to reasonably be sure that the results from the samples taken do represent the presence of these two plant species of tormentil and heath bedstrow, a quadrat sampling was conducted using the quadrat as the sampling unit because the quadrat normally consist of a square frame.
The main purpose of using the quadrat in the sampling of these two plant species in fanshawe gate farm is to enable a comparable sample to be obtained of the two different plant species from the area of the consistent size and shape. The square frame quadrat used in the sampling was divided into nine multiple squares in which six square boxes where used to find the presence of the two plant species in six of the square boxes.
In addition, grid points of 106 where used which were identified using the GPS to find the each of the grid point, the presence of each of the two species was recorded for each of the 106 point in the habitat of fanshawe gate farm.
Since, we are going to incorporate GIS techniques in displaying the presence of the two plants species which will in turn improve the knowledge of environmental decision making purposes by applying and adapting GIS methods and techniques ranging from displaying the data collected of the two plants species to produce a choropleth map showing the abundance of a specie at each point.
Although, GIS technique of interpolation is used to interpolate the distribution of the species in the habitat of fanshawe gate farm, a wide range of GIS techniques is available ranging from the use of ArcGIS as software package of GIS, which makes it possible to perform the interpolation of the data of the plant species to raster using two techniques:
- Inverse Distance Weighting (IDW)
- Natural Neighbours.
According to Dominy and Brean (2001) believes that the integration of Geographic Information System and GPS technology has expanded to a great number of ecological and conservation application, however they further identified some problems associated to the use of these technologies like the difficulty of quality reception beneath a dense forest and a degree of spatial error which is unacceptable to fine-scale vegetation mapping.
Although, according to Scholten and De lepper (1991) expressed that the use GIS in ecological context tends to be more complicated in:
- Storing, managing and integration spatially referenced data relating to point (e.g. individual tree species or plant species) lines (e.g. river, road) and polygon (e.g. forest boundaries, habitat types, territorial ranges.
- Conducting spatial queries ( e.g. searching for areas in which a particular species or features occurs
- Engaging in geographic analysis ( e.g. statistical analysis of relationship between habitat and reproductive success and
- Displaying data in the form of high quality maps.
The images below where produced using ArcGIS, which are images showing the distribution of Heath bedstraw (Gallium saxatile) in the Fansahwe gate farm in different period of times of 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2004 from which comparison of the distribution of species between the four year can be made, as such it is possible to interprete changes that occur in the abundance of the species by visual comparison of the raster images however, ArcGIS as a GIS software is able to make more precise comparison.
Slope of the Fanshawe Gate Farm
Slope has a negative relationship, indicating that lower elevations tended to have higher soil fertility across the study site. These results coincided with the positive correlation between elevation and sand. The red area shows high slope of the area while green area shows less slope.
Aspect of the Fanshawe Gate Farm:
Shows that where the farm got high slope is facing toward Northwest.
Aspect-induced differences in light, heat, moisture and edaphically conditions produced a sort of potential species during recruitment. Aspect shows where the slope is facing. From the figure it can be analysed the slope is facing more towards North and Northwest.
above shows the area solar radiation the farm received from November to January. Where the slope facing North and North West received less solar radiation as indicates by the blue colour in the above figure. This is the area which contain high slope and is facing towards Northwest as indicating from
Area solar radiation shows that the slope facing North and Northeast more solar radiation than any other slope on the Fanshawe Gate farm. In winters the same area received less amount of solar radiation as compare to summer.
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