Satellite data supports forest protection around the world
November 1st, 2014: Ecometrica has won a landmark contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) to support satellite monitoring and evaluation of the UK’s International Climate Fund (ICF) forest activities. The ICF is the UK’s £3.5 billion commitment to 2020 to support climate change mitigation and adaptation in developing countries, and the project sees Ecometrica validate the accuracy of deforestation detection products released by Global Forest Watch, part of the World Resources Institute. Three countries – Ghana, Nepal and the Cerrado region of Brazil – are covered in the initial project, which is set to take eight months.
Ecometrica was selected by ESA as sole contractor, based on both the team’s combined expertise in monitoring forest & land use changes using satellite sensors and its Our Ecosystem (OE) Cloud geospatial technology, which is capable of distributing information content from very large spatial datasets between multiple users. The work will support ongoing monitoring and evaluation to determine the effectiveness of projects to protect forests and adapt agriculture to climate change.
Dr Richard Tipper, chairman of Ecometrica, said: “This is a significant win for Ecometrica and a milestone in the development and growth of our space-related activities. We have had to build a business case with the UK government and pass detailed scrutiny and technical review by the European Space Agency, and are delighted to say that we were the only applying provider deemed capable of handling this project.
“There is a rapidly increasing demand for information products relating to changes in land use, ecosystem productivity, natural hazards and water availability. However, it is important that the accuracy and suitability of these products is known in specific areas relevant to projects or policies.
“In the past, studies were done on a one-off basis and the data collected in one time period was often lost by the time of the next study. The advantage of using satellite sensors is that we have a record of vegetation and land use going back to the 1970s. By monitoring and evaluating change on an ongoing basis, we can see trends emerging and set up processes for on-going measurement and alerts.”
The ESA’s Rosetta space mission made history earlier this month, with the successful delivery of the Philae lander on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, some 490 million kilometres from Earth.