Tea area Development and Management using RS and GIS

Tea is one of the most important beverages in India and major foreign exchange earner. India is the largest producer of tea in the world. The Indian states of Assam, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Tripura and Sikkim in the north-east and Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala in the south contribute significantly to the overall tea production in the country. Presently there is no structured geo-spatial database available at the national level regarding spatial distribution of all the major, medium and small tea growing areas and the resources prospects and limitations at garden level viz. garden landuse, areas under river bank erosion, vacant areas, health of tea bushes etc.

Remote Sensing data and Geographical Information System (GIS), is emerging as an flexible, efficient, speedy, cost-effective and reliable technology for obtaining information on natural resources analysis and modeling. It is an integral part of data management in large number of application. To demonstrate the strength of satellite technology a pilot study was carried out in Bagdogra area of North Bengal to address the Remote Sensing and GIS (Geographic Information System) capability in tea area development using multi-spectral and multi-resolution satellite data supported by ground intelligence to address precise mapping of the tea gardens with section details, pruning types, shade tree density, garden landuse and gap areas etc. Based upon the encouraging results of the pilot study Tea Board principally agreed upon formally to initiate the project on “Tea area development and management using Remote Sensing and GIS”. Accordingly, a project proposal was prepared keeping in view the requirements at management level as well as in the garden level, various objectives are proposed wherein high resolution satellite data from Indian satellites viz. IRS LISS IV and Cartosat PAN will be used for mapping of different components within the purview of the project objectives.

In this endeavour Tea Board will facilitate the collection of garden maps and relevant data, field survey and interaction with garden managers, and validation of results.

The entire project will be completed in 3 years and once completed it is expected that the information flow across various stake holders will be faster and timely manner to enable various decision making process at Tea Board level. Based on several interactions with tea garden managers few Research and Development component has also been kept in the project apart from operational and capacity building. The R and D component will be based on remote estimation of green leaf yield, forecasting of some of the pests and diseases, surface hydrology and drainage planning etc. The software package that will be developed under this project has been configured as web enabled services ensuring seamless data flow across various stakeholders. At the completion of the project the package will be installed at Tea Board server and continued technical support and training will be provided for developing required skill. Major objectives of the project are given below:

  • Mapping of tea growing areas (major, medium and small) using high-resolution Indian satellite data.
  • Analysis of detailed tea garden landuse and mapping.
  • Geo-referencing of tea garden maps with respect to satellite data and creation of spatial garden database.
  • Analysis of canopy density of the shade trees using Cartosat-1 satellite data and mapping to characterize optimal, high or low density classes.
  • Identification of degraded tea areas for uprooting and re-plantation.
  • Generation of fine quality Digital Elevation Model (DEM) using Cartosat-1 satellite stereo pair.
  • Use of Cartosat-1 DEM for generation of potential surface water flow lines for diversion of flood water.
  • Site suitability analysis for new area of tea plantation.
  • Monitoring uprooting and re-plantation activities.
  • Generation of comprehensive database of natural resources and infrastructure of Tea gardens.
  • Development of comprehensive web-enabled GIS and MIS for the Tea gardens to establish network between Tea Board, Tea Research Institutes and Tea Gardens for better management and also to provide technical support to Tea gardens.

Benefits for Tea Board

Availability of geographically referenced hardcopy and softcopy digital maps (in cadastral scale) of all the tea gardens upto section details including small growers, most of which are unregistered to tea board. Updated information on garden landuse, shade tree density, gap areas, garden areas affected by river bank erosion / changes in the river course. Availability of section / division / garden details including static and dynamic attribute information on the desktop for augmenting informed decision making. To help monitoring uprooting / replantation especially in the low yielding areas of old bushes which is the key to long term competitiveness of the Indian tea industry. Near real time acquisition of information across different tea gardens through web enabled data sharing. Will help regularizing the small growers to enable them to avail financial assistance from TB or from banks / financial institutions. News flash pertaining to different stakeholders through tea board portal. Long term policy formulation.

Benefits for Tea gardens

Availability of value added geographically referenced hardcopy and softcopy digital maps (in cadastral scale) of the garden upto section details. Visualization tool to enable updated information on garden landuse, shade tree density, gap areas, garden areas affected by river bank erosion / changes in the river course. Iso-contours lines of the gardens at 1m interval. Potential drainage lines for disposal of excess runoff / flood water and its routing. Ground water potential and target areas for ground water exploitation in the garden. Better connectivity across TB, TRI, TRA, Tea industry and exchange of information. Availability of section / division / garden detail including static and dynamic attribute information on the desktop for augmenting informed decision making.

 

Tea area Development and Management using RS and GIS