Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Satelite to Safe the Forest

Every year, large area of forest in Indonesia has been rapidly transformed into commercial plantations. For which purpose, the forest trees were either cut or burned down, causing problems for people living in the surrounding area as well as endangered animals living inside the forest.

In order to make sure that the deforestation process would be carried out according to the laws and regulations, the government has been using satellite to monitor the forest, however the result is still unsatisfying.

In this regards, I felt that Indonesia should learn from Brazil in using satellite effectively and efficiently as reported by The Jakarta Globe below :

Brazil and Indonesia Using Eyes in the Sky To Safeguard Rainforests

Sao Paolo. In the fight against rampant deforestation, Indonesia can learn a few high-tech tips from the guardian of the world’s largest tropical rainforest.

The first step in fighting deforestation is knowing where it is happening. Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) has been relying on satellites to do just that.

Since 1996, Brazil has been using satellite imaging with the cooperation of China. The China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite was set up in 1999 to monitor the condition of the Amazon.

Since the original satellite was launched, the later generation Cbers-1 and Cbers-2 have beamed back images more frequently and with higher resolution.

“In 2015, we’re expecting to launch Cbers-5 and Cbers-6, which will be able to give much more precise data and mapping of deforestation,” said Jean Paul Ometto, an associate researcher at INPE during a talk to Indonesian journalists this month.

Ometto added that other satellites, such as Landsat, MODIS, and WFI CB 2 were used to compare data to the Amazon images captured by Cbers.

He said Brazil had also developed two other imaging systems to illustrate the progress of deforestation in the Amazon: Deforestation Assessment in the Brazilian Legal Amazonia (Prodes) and Deforestation Detection in Real Time (Deter).

“We use Deter for larger-scale deforestation and for complicated data because it has a lower resolution of 250 meters for more than 25 hectares, but it is much more frequent, visiting every two to five days,” he said.

“Prodes has a significantly more detailed resolution of 20 to 30 meters for at least 6.25 hectares but the interval between images is greater; 18 to 27 days. All these data are available to the public so that they can monitor the development of the region’s deforestation.”

Indonesia has also been using a satellite, Landsat, to take pictures of the condition of the forests, but the nation has to depend on semi-manual analysis. Brazil, on the other hand, has succeeded in developing the two systems to derive an accurate rate of deforestation.

Masyhud, head of information at the Forestry Ministry, said Indonesia was a step ahead of Brazil because it has been using satellite imaging, Landsat, to monitor the forest since the early 1990s.

“We can’t get annual data because we would need to interpret it, and that’s not cheap,” Masyhud said. “So, usually the interpretation [of the satellite images] is based on necessity and is not necessarily being done annually.”

Markus Ratriyono, spokesman of Forest Watch Indonesia, said the satellite could be very effective but the process to analyze the data always took a very long time.

“If you compare it to Brazil, then, yes, they are few steps ahead considering how easy it is for them to get the data and trust it,” Markus said. “We’ve never got into details concerning deforestation, we’ve only got charts which are open to doubts.”

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