Disasters Forests Natural Resources

Satellite Images for Forest Management

satellite image virunga national parks

IKONOS (0.8m) Satellite Image Deforestation in Virunga National Parks – Rwanda and the Congo (DRC) – 2007

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(Image Credit: DigitalGlobe and Satellite Imaging Corporation)

Satellite images in forest management can aid in determining the effects of forest activities, such as timber harvesting and best management practices on soil erosion and sedimentation. It could also assist in the detection of invasive species through identification of water bodies that have clear water and high algae signatures.

Fire and emergency applications are one of the strongest uses of GIS and remote sensing, particularly fire mapping, responding to emergency situations, hazardous fuels reduction, community assistance, firefighting, rehabilitation, and restoration. Forest fires have an important influence on the vegetation cover, animals, plants, soil, stream flow, air quality, microclimate, and even general climate. The loss of timber is obvious and so is the damage to life and property. The loss of recreation value of the forest and the destruction of wildlife habitat are also consequences of forest fires.

Researchers and scientists have long been trying to predict the behavior of a forest fire. Computer modeling has been the effort of many scientists using high resolution satellite imagery and GIS. In order to model a forest fire, the techniques for obtaining, analyzing and displaying spatial information in a timely and cost-effective manner are needed which has proven not only to be possible, but incredibly efficient and effective. 

satellite image colorado wildfiresGeoEye-1 (0.5m) Satellite Image of Four Mile Canyon Wildfires, Colorado USA – 2010

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(Image Credit: DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)


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