Niti Mishra is back in our headlines again. Niti recently returned from a season of field work in the Uttarkashi district of the Indian Himalayas (Jan 1 -1 0). he field campaign was in and around Uttarkashi town in the Garhwal Himalayas, which has been battered by a series of landslides and flash floods during the monsoon season (June – August). The field work included data collection related to vegetation physiognomic and floristic composition at different altitudinal ranges, data on land use, and land cover dynamics. Niti also conducted interviews with local people to understand the pattern of natural resource extraction/utilization and their perception regarding government’s socio-economic and environmental conservation policies.
In support of Niti’s ongoing research, theDigital Globe Foundation recently awarded him access to WorldView-2imagery of Uttarkashi. WorldView-2 is a new generation of satellite providing unprecedented 8 multi-spectral bands at 2 m. spatial resolution. WorldView-2 offers new frontiers for remote sensing science in biodiversity exploration and ecological research, particularly for physically inaccessible and logistically challenging areas such as the Himalayas. In this project, field measurements will be combined with WorldView-2 and other satellite products. Niti will map spatio-temporal patterns and trends in vegetation bio-physical properties, and land cover/land use patterns. Later these variables will be analyzed with meteorological and demographic variables to examine their complex linkages and ascertain the impact of climate change and increasing anthropogenic pressure that could be leading to the increased frequency of disasters.