Near real-time estimation of forest changes from a new constellation of satellites

Theme: Biodiversity, Ecology & Conservation

Primary Supervisor:

Philip Lewis

Geography, UCL

Philip Lewis's Profile Picture

Secondary Supervisor:

Mathias Disney

Geography, UCL

Mathias Disney's Profile Picture

Project Description:

Forest change, particularly loss and degradation through forestry, fire and low-level agricultural impingement, is highly uncertain in many parts of the tropics in particular. Satellites are used to measure the impacts of these changes on carbon stocks and climate.

However current satellites can dramatically underestimate change and loss at fine scales (<50m). This CASE project would exploit an exciting new concept, the Planet Labs Inc constellation of 10s of low-cost, rapidly deployable satellites (Doves) to address this problem. By the end of 2014 more than 30 Doves will be in orbit, providing 3-5m spatial resolution data covering the globe every 1-3 days.

This provides a potentially unique way to monitor forest changes at very high accuracy in space and time, and dramatically improve our ability to quantify losses at these scales. The student would have the opportunity to work closely with Planet Labs to exploit this new technology.

Policy Impact of Research:


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