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PARTNERSHIPS FOR ENHANCED ENGAGEMENT IN RESEARCH (PEER)
Cycle 5 (2015 Deadline)


JaibikMap: Nepal's biodiversity and climate change tool for the future


PI: Menaka Panta (menaka72@gmail.com), International Union for Conservation of Nature - Nepal
U.S. Partner: Walter Jetz, Yale University
Project Dates: December 2016 - November 2018

Project Overview:

Nepal, a small, landlocked country in the Himalayan region, boasts an astonishing variety of floral and faunal species due to the diversity of its topography and habitat types. Nepal’s biodiversity is declining due to anthropological stressors, including rapid growth in human population and settlements and human-wildlife conflict; however, the greatest risk to Nepal’s biodiversity lies in a lack of spatially and temporally-sensitive data that reflect potential future changes in habitat composition and distribution due to climate change. Barriers to collecting, analyzing, and sharing information have led to uninformed development, impacting livelihoods.

This PEER project aims to fill existing and future gaps in knowledge supporting the developmental phase of JaibikMap, an interactive, open data, free web-based mapping tool that contains detailed data for addressing conservation and development challenges. The tool will be built on a scalable platform to accommodate additional data layers in the future. Addressing research gaps, project partners will conduct a nationwide study of forest change under different climate change scenarios and then apply these findings to species distribution models predicting shifts in habitats. Furthermore, a mobile application will be developed allowing anyone to upload photos and GPS coordinates to the JaibikMap repository taken during opportunistic sightings of mammal species.

Summary of Recent Events

In the quarter ending March 2018, all the potential distribution maps of 73 mammalian species were made, converted to the vector format from raster format and based on these database of 73 mammalian specie's habitat suitability, maps were produced, however conversion of these maps into vector is yet to be done.The modeling outputs were reviewed and nine mammalian species data were again added to cover the whole range distribution of species.The 60-mammalian species photo was collected to display in the JaibikMap tool and mobile application. Furthermore, updating the map of Jnawali et al. 2011 based on JaibikMap outputs was done for 60 species. The map was based on occurrences data obtained during the project. Updating the information (profiling) on 60 species (1st draft) was completed which include the information like classification, physical characteristics, ecology, spatial distribution, distribution map, and threats.

In the next 3-6 months, the PI and her team are planning on carrying out the following activities:

Rigorous works on collecting mammalian occurrence data will be conducted by visiting potential institution and by communicating with independent researcher.
• Work on updating information on the mammal species description, occurrences, distribution, status, habitat requirements and main threats will be conducted.
• Meteorological data analysis of western and eastern Nepal will be conducted. Potential Evapotranspiration and ratio of potential evapo-transpiration will be calculated and these data will be used in Holdridge Life Zone Analysis to depict latest life zones (vegetation).
• The Climate Change scenario will be analyzed using worldclim data, and matched with the trend of climatic data of 1970-2015.The data of every stations will be employed in Holdridge model, and likely change in life zones will be determined.
• All remaining species will be modeled and the outputs will be further refined.
• The raster outputs will be converted into vector (shape and geojson) format for integration in website.
• Exercises will be conducted to merge the outputs (Holdridge Life Zone Analysis) generated by CDB/TU.
• Works on modifying the Jaibik Map wireframe based on plant species distribution data will be conducted.
• Preliminary results from the project will be presented in conferences and research papers will be drafted (at least 3 preliminary research outputs will be prepared and presented in the national/international conference if additional fund available for the coverage of conference expenses).



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