The Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India is piloting a multi-disciplinary multi-institutional programme, Natural Resources Data Management System (NRDMS). The focus under the programme is the development and demonstration of methodologies/technologies for spatial databases and their use in decision support systems required for the management of natural resources by the decision makers. The emphasis is to provide location specific solutions at the scale required for local level planning, i.e. districts and below.
Realising the urgent need to develop a scientific methodology for the fragile Himalayan eco-system , NRDMS Division has launched a programme On "Bio-Geo Database And Ecological Modeling For Himalayas" .The main objectives of the programme are to develop a bio-geo database in different transects of the Himalayas (currently in Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal transects) and to develop decision support systems for the integrated and sustainable development of this biodiversity rich region. A research team comprising of scientists from the leading National and state level institutions/academia are implementing this programme with the DST's support.
While implementing the programme, it was felt that there are no nationally accepted standards in respect to the flora, fauna and crops. In order to deleberate on the issues related to the codification of biological data to meet the georeferenced linkages establishment and processing for decision making, a one day National Brain Storming Workshop on 'STANDARADISATION OF BIOLOGICAL DATABASES' was organized on 8th May 2004 at India International Centre (IIC), Lodhi Road, New Delhi. The ultimate aim of this was to develop an nationally accepted protocol for biological data codification system. Relevant departments, few eminent experts and scientists in this field participated in this event. One of the main recommendation was to formulate the draft biological standards which would become a part of the NSDI framework.
As the follow-up, the research team (list of collaborating institutions annexed) working for the Bio-Geo programme has prepared the standards (both in terms of vertically upscaling the existing NRIS codes from 1: 50,000 to 1:12,500 for landuse and introducing the biological codes for flora,fauna and microbial diversity. This exercise has been done from the actual field data(1:12500 scale) collected by the research groups from the three microwatersheds viz. Megad, Moolbery and Mandhala representing higher, middle & lower altitudinal transects in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The draft version 1 of these standards are as under.