Developing open Earth observation tools for ecosystem restoration assessment and monitoring

Pioneer Earth Observation apPlications for the Environment - Ecosystem Restoration (PEOPLE-ER)

Approach

Analytics

PEOPLE-ER is financed under the Earth Observation Science for Society (EO4Society)  programmatic element of FutureEO-1.

PEOPLE-ER is one of four related pioneer projects with the objective to develop innovative high-quality EO-based application products, indicators and methods, targeting specific high-priority research and development (R&D) matters raised by the international environment policy agenda and with a distinct connection to the European Union (EU) Green Deal.

PEOPLE-ER commenced in October 2022 and will be completed over 18 months.

Solutions

PEOPLE-ER addresses the needs of forest landscape restoration and wetland restoration initiatives around the world.

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Vegetation recovery and trends Toolset

  • Relative vegetation recovery
  • Relative vegetation change trends
  • Trends & climate variability
  • Full EO time-series modeling methods
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Wetland and wetness trends Toolset

  • Relative wetness change trends
  • Trends & climate variability
  • Full EO time-series modelling
  • Functional wetland classification

Demonstrations with Early Adopters

British Columbia, Canada

In North Central BC, forest ecosystems are impacted by the cumulative effects of mountain pine beetle, wildfire, forest harvesting, and energy operations.

Monitoring forest recovery following disturbance is a critical information need. In addition, a SERNbc ecosystem restoration project aims to develop more diverse and acceptable forms of ungulate habitat by judiciously modifying the structure and spacing of some younger forest stands while minimizing the long-term costs to timber supply. This is intended to increase future forage availability in proximity to cover but away from roads, and to improve the ability of some forested stands to serve as winter range.

Chinko Conservation Area, Central African Republic

Chinko Conservation Area in Central African Republic (CAR) is a mosaic of different ecosystems in the east of CAR. Being located near the equator in Africa and the large scale of intact vegetation makes Chinko incredibly rich with a unique composition of biodiversity and opportunities for ecological and evolutionary processes. Key threats include regional insecurity, weaker governance (nationally and regionally), cross border infringement and high levels of poverty among both local sedentary and nomadic populations in the periphery.

African Parks ecosystem restoration and protection interventions in Chinko are focused on restoring biodiversity and managing the park to bring back large mammal populations.

Finland

Luke is collaborating with the Parks & Wildlife Finland (Metsähallitus) on monitoring the progression of peatland restoration sites in northern Finland. Luke conducts research to improve understanding about the impact of restoration activities for both the restoration site and the wider environment.

Luke is constantly developing new approaches and solutions for practical implementation of the monitoring. Key parameters for peatland restoration monitoring include: 1. Changes in vegetation in the restored peatland areas, 2. Changes in the ground surface wetness in the restored areas, and 3. Changes in peatland hydrology in areas surrounding the restoration site.

Romania

INCDS is collaborating with forest administrators on monitoring restoration of of damaged forest areas. INCDS conducts research to improve understanding about the impact of restoration activities for both the forest restoration sites and the surrounding areas.

Currently, monitoring of forest restoration requires intensive field work for vegetation inventories. No EO data-based solutions are currently used in the operational forest restoration monitoring activities. The aim is to investigate how EO based approaches could reduce or even replace some of the field work to manage restoration activities on the increasing number and extent of forest restoration areas.

Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Vietnam’s upper Mekong Delta – the Plain of Reeds (PoR) and Greater Long Xuyen Quadrangle (G-LXQ) is susceptible to extreme floods and droughts. IUCN is supporting an initiative to transition away from a third annual rice crop into nature-based solutions (NBS) of flood-based agriculture. This policy change involves ending investment in high dikes, which prevent flooding from the Mekong River, and enabling floodplain reconnection. Farming in the wet season would transition to flood-based agriculture.

To contribute to policy implementation, IUCN requires is information on flood extent, floodplain connectivity, and flood-based crop extent.

Platforms

PEOPLE-ER leverages cutting edge cloud computing platform solutions, focusing on ready-to-use operational platform services and portability so that solutions can be used on infrastructure already established by the Early Adopters.

Forestry TEP

  • Access satellite imagery, ancillary datasets, and ready-made products 
  • Thematic processing services and supporting processing services for forest analyses
  • Sharing and interfacing features
  • Capability to develop and work with new methods on the platform

Multi-national Cloud Platforms

  • PEOPLE-ER solutions will be developed for portability to enable usage with cloud platforms such as Microsoft Planetary Computer, SEPAL, and the new Copernicus Data Access Service

Outputs

The project outputs will include algorithms available via public code repositories, notebooks for implementation in cloud platforms, user documentation, and scientific publications. 

Reports

Presentations

PEOPLE-ER presented at the GEO BON Global Conference: Monitoring Biodiversity for Action in Montreal (Oct 9-13th 2023). 

  • Title: Open EO tools for terrestrial vegetation and wetland function recovery analysis to support ecosystem and biodiversity restoration projects.
  • Presentation (full version)
  • Session and abstract

Code Repository

The GitHub pages provide access to the code, documentation, and demonstration notebooks. 

Our team

Contact us

    Consortium Members

    Hatfield is a science-driven service-oriented company that builds solutions to complex environmental challenges, with a depth of experience in ecosystem restoration projects in Canada and around the world. Hatfield is a trusted partner for the development of cutting-edge and practical EO technologies.

    The remote sensing team at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland produces EO data processing chains for domestic and international users. The team is internationally known, particularly for its forest monitoring applications and the Forestry TEP cloud processing platform. VTT is ranked among the leading European Research and Technology Organisations.

    Dr. Nicholas Coops leads the Integrated Remote Sensing Studio (IRSS) at the University of British Columbia, a leading international research group in the application of EO technologies for forest ecosystem assessment and monitoring. This includes ER and the prioritization of methods and products for remote sensing essential biodiversity variables (RS-EBVs).

    Early Adopters

    INCDS is the main organisation of research and development in forestry from Romania. INCDS is in charge for the forest resources assessment and monitoring in Romania through National Forest Inventory. INCDS has also secured the support of two Romanian NGOs as documented in letters of support: Forestry Society Association and Fundatia Grupul Verde Oradea.

    As one of the biggest clusters of bioeconomy expertise in Europe, Luke develops knowledge-based solution models and services for renewable natural resources management and supports decision-making in society.

    African Parks is a leading non-profit conservation organisation that takes on the complete responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of protected areas across Africa in partnership with governments and local communities.

    African Parks currently manages 19 national parks and protected areas in 11 countries covering over 14.7 million hectares. African Parks is rapidly growing, aiming to directly manage 30 protected areas by 2030, across 11 biomes, measuring 30 million hectares contributing to the global target of protecting 30% of the Earth to keep the planet flourishing.

    Established in 1948, IUCN is an international authority working on a wide range of themes related to nature conservation, forests, ecosystem management, protected areas, global policy and governance and rights.

    IUCN Vietnam was established in 1993 as an IUCN State member. Since then, IUCN has made important contribution to biodiversity conservation and environmental protection in Vietnam.

    SERNbc is a key enabler for ecosystem restoration in forested ecosystems in northern British Columbia affected by cumulative disturbances from forest operations, energy exploration, wildfires, and forest pests/diseases.

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