GIS Lab has been established under Chief Minister Initiative in Punjab Forest Department during the year 2012-13. The purpose of this setup is to develop a digital record of Forest Assets and regular Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation of Forests using modern day Geo-Spatial Technologies. One of the main objectives of the Geographical Information System Lab is to secure Forestland areas through GIS based boundary demarcation using Global Positioning System (GPS), Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS), Total station and other advance techniques. After the delineation of forest boundaries, it is essential to estimate the current tree or forest cover in a forest, which is carried out using different Remote Sensing and GIS techniques like classification, indices etc. Forest Cover assessment plays an important role in evaluation of current forest situations and further planning. For monitoring purposes, other than conventional methods GIS lab acquired Drones that are being used for rapid and emergency assignments or monitoring.
The total area of Punjab is 50.95 million acres. The recorded forests area is 1.58 million acres (excluding) Linear Plantations, which constitutes 3.26 % of the geographic area of the Punjab. Major forest types occurring in the province are Irrigated Plantation, Riverain Forest, Scrub Forest, Range Lands and Coniferous Forest. Irrigated Plantations comprises 25.6%, Riverain Forests 10.6%, Scrub Forest 40.7%, Range lands 12.2%, Desert 2.3%, Coniferous forests 6.8% and Mix Forest (Coniferous/Scrub) 1.8% of total forest area of Punjab.
Currently, Geographical Information System Lab has prepared the databases of Forest boundaries of 1405019.14 Acres area and 1116274.38 Acres area of Forest Cover out of 1.58 million acres of total forest area. Moreover, GIS Based centralized forest data repository and Web GIS Based Forest Management Information System (FMIS) have been developed for better Planning, Monitoring, Reporting and Evaluation. Map atlases of Forest Boundaries and Forest Cover assessment have been prepared at Forest Division levels.