Satellite project will monitor Kenyas forests in near realtime
Leicester researchers will be travelling to Kenya from 25 – 29 April to kick off a new satellite project that aims to monitor the world’s forests in near real-time.
The team hopes that it will help forest land owners and national agencies to protect biodiversity and reduce climate change through the rapid detection of forest cover changes arising from unsustainable utilisation practices.
The team travelling to Kenya includes Professor Heiko Balzter, Director of the Centre for Landscape and Climate Research at the University of Leicester, together with Dr Pedro Rodríguez Veiga and Dr Ciaran Robb from the University’s Department of Geography and Dr Maggy Heintz from the Research and Enterprise Division.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change includes an international initiative on ‘Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation’ (REDD+) whose aim include protection of carbon stocks and biodiversity in threatened ecosystems around the world. This way, carbon stays in the forest and is not released to the air, where it could lead to further global warming.
Kenya has recently set out an ambitious climate change action plan and within the context of REDD+. Our University is working with the Ministry for Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Authorities, Kenya Forest Service and a Kenyan company Ukall Ltd to develop a prototype for a near-real-time forest cover change, monitoring service from Sentinel-1 and 2 satellite data. The service will use national forest definitions and is delivered directly in an easily accessible reporting format via a smartphone app to community forestry associations and the Kenya Forest Service.
The project is supported by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).