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LiDAR Based Survey of Forest Areas

  • 26 Jun 2021
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Union Environment Minister in a virtual event released the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) of LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) based survey of forest areas in ten states.

  • The 10 mapped states are Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Nagaland, and Tripura.

Key Points

  • Survey of Forest Areas Project:
    • The project was awarded to WAPCOS in July 2020 at a cost of over Rs. 18 crore for implementation in 26 states over 261897 hectares.
      • WAPCOS is a Mini Ratna Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the Jal Shakti Ministry.
    • It is a first of its kind and a unique experiment using LiDAR technology which will help augment water and fodder in jungle areas thereby reducing human-animal conflict.
      • LiDAR technology has been found to have 90% accuracy.
    • States will be given Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) funds to use in this project.
      • CAMPA is meant to promote afforestation and regeneration activities as a way of compensating for forest land diverted to non-forest uses.
      • CAMPA was established to manage the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF) and it acts as the custodian of the CAMPA fund.
    • One major ridge inside a forest block is identified in these states with an average area of 10,000 ha selected in each State; the area should have average rainfall of the state, and requires assisted natural generation.
  • Significance:
    • Besides reducing human-animal conflict, it will help us in identifying areas which need groundwater recharge which will in turn help local communities.
    • It will help in catching rainwater and prevent stream run-off, which will help in recharging groundwater.
    • It will help in recommending different types of Soil & Water conservation structures such as Anicut, Gabion, Gully Plug, Mini percolation tank, Percolation Tank, Field bund, Sunken pond, Farm pond etc.


  • About:
    • It is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges & variable distances.
    • These light pulses—combined with other data recorded by the airborne system— generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics.
    • A LiDAR instrument principally consists of a laser, a scanner, and a specialized Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver.
      • Airplanes and helicopters are the most commonly used platforms for acquiring LiDAR data over broad areas.
    • LiDAR follows a simple principle — throw laser light at an object on the earth surface and calculate the time it takes to return to the LiDAR source.
      • Given the speed at which the light travels (approximately 186,000 miles per second), the process of measuring the exact distance through LiDAR appears to be incredibly fast.
  • Applications:
    • Lidar is commonly used to make high-resolution maps, with applications in surveying, geodesy, geomatics, archaeology, geography, geology, geomorphology, seismology, forestry, atmospheric physics, laser guidance, airborne laser swath mapping (ALSM), and laser altimetry.

Source: IE

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