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Rezatec Utilises CEMS to Develop a Low Cost Service for Detecting Deforestation

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Rezatec Utilises CEMS to Develop a Low Cost Service for Detecting Deforestation

Rezatec, the satellite and environmental data products provider, has launched a new, low cost service to monitor and detect deforestation for large areas of land using satellite imagery.

Working with UK Government’s Satellite Applications Catapult CEMS facility (Climate and Environmental Monitoring from Space), Rezatec has emulated one of the world’s leading deforestation monitoring systems, PRODES, the Brazilian government’s Program for Deforestation Assessment in the Brazilian Legal Amazonia.

Rezatec was set the challenge of using public domain satellite data to deliver a large scale, low cost deforestation monitoring service as part of its initial engagement with the CEMS facility, a high powered computing environment with 2.6 petabytes of storage capacity designed to host very large space and ground datasets. CEMS provisioned 7 virtual machines in order that Rezatec could download and process up to 400 terabytes of earth and ground observation data.

Using PRODES as the key benchmark comparable for the delivery of effective deforestation monitoring, Rezatec emulated its capability by processing NASA MODIS MOD15 LAI products to generate year-on-year comparisons of annual maximum Leaf Area Index (LAI MAX) indices for large scale areas of interest. This analysis was then compared against PRODES data where high levels of deforestation recorded year on year were identified. These comparisons yielded a visually significant correlation between LAI Max year-on-year extreme deltas and deforestation identified by PRODES. Rezatec processing confirmed that MODIS data can be suitable for monitoring large areas of land, such as whole countries, to identify ‘hotspots’ or areas of interest for further investigation that may indicate evidence of deforestation.

As a result of this project, Rezatec can now offer a service that utilises coarse resolution data to build regional/national land use change maps for countries seeking to monitor deforestation on an annualised basis; then leverages medium-resolution data to develop composite maps that confirm deforestation driven land use change and; ultimately utilises high resolution data to pin point the underlying drivers of the observed deforestation.

Stuart Martin, Chief Executive Officer of the Satellite Applications Catapult said “Rezatec is one of the first major users of CEMS and is a fantastic example of a UK company, leveraging the power of the CEMS facility to develop commercially available products aimed at the fast growing private sector.”

Patrick Newton, Chief Executive Officer of Rezatec, commented: “Many countries with large scale forests, especially tropical forests, do not have the resources or capabilities to monitor and detect deforestation using satellite infrastructure such as PRODES. Using CEMS Rezatec can now provide such a service that is accessible and low cost, for large areas of land, providing alerts to areas of interest that can then be further analysed with higher resolution data.”

In addition to the ability to detect deforestation, Rezatec’s methodology and approach can be applied to resolve other environmental challenges including:

  • Tropical forest carbon stock change assessment;
  • Macro-scale supply chain carbon impact monitoring;
  • Nation-level pre-REDD readiness reference system development.

Rezatec will be presenting its findings at the UK Space Conference 2013, in Glasgow on Wednesday 17th July.

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