NASA and the nonprofit Conservation International are partnering to use global Earth observations from space to improve regional efforts that assess natural resources for conservation and sustainable management.
Under a three-year agreement signed on Feb. 22, NASA will support two Conservation International-led initiatives, one focused on land ecosystems in Africa, the other on water resources along the Mekong River in Southeast Asia. NASA researchers will analyze and model remote-sensing data from the agency’s fleet of Earth-observing missions and commercial satellites, mapping ecosystems at regional and national scales. Satellite data, with its coverage of broad swaths of terrain, are critical for understanding the impacts of human activity on the environment.
The long-term goal of the NASA-Conservation International collaboration is to develop decision-making tools and practices based on satellite observations of Earth that can be used worldwide.
“Space-based remote-sensing systems provide critical benefits, since they enable fine-scale, accurate measurements to be made over the entire globe,” said Woody Turner, NASA’s program manager for ecological forecasting in the Science Mission Directorate’s Earth Science Division. “With these initiatives, we aim to create and test standardized analysis approaches that can then be applied to ecosystems around the world, once again demonstrating the benefits to society of NASA’s satellite data and research.”
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Image via Benjamin Drummond, Conservation International