Terra-i deforestation monitoring system going pan-tropical


The first step towards halting tropical deforestation is knowing where it occurs in a timely manner that permits rapid action to address the root causes. Terra-i is the first ever moderate resolution operational deforestation monitoring system outside of Brazil. It provides 16-day updates for land cover change at 250m resolution and updated datasets in Geographical Information System (GIS) formats are made available to a global user community every two months.

Terra-i has been operational for the whole of Latin America (Mexico to Argentina) with a processing hub and distribution system based at CIAT since December 2011 and was officially launched at Rio+20. Thanks to the iCUBE consortium collaboration between the Universiti-Brunei Darussalam and King's College London with CIAT and HEIG-VD, Louis Reymondin now has Terra-i running for Southeast Asia with a processing centre at the UBD-IBM centre.

Figure 1. Deforestation in northern India and Nepal 2004-2013, according to Terra-i

We expect to be producing pan-tropical results over the next few months. Initial tests are encouraging, indicating that the system is working reliably in other tropical forest contexts. Figure 1 shows deforestation 2004-2013 for India and Nepal and Figure 2 2004-2012 for Borneo.

Figure 2. Deforestation in Borneo 2004-2012, according to Terra-i

Terra-i and Policy support

Terra-i produces detailed maps of land cover change as well as time series of areas and rates of change by country, administrative region, protected area and ecosystem. All results can be visualised online at www.terra-i.org, offline on Android tablets and smartphones (see geodata.policysupport.org/terra-i) or downloaded for further analysis in Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Terra-i is linked with the WaterWorld and Co$ting Nature Policy support systems for examining the impacts of recent land cover change on ecosystem services (carbon, water and hazard mitigation) and for generating land use change projections.

The system has been applied to examining the impacts of mining in Peru, large scale deforestation in the Chaco, deforestation in and around protected areas and impacts on water (flooding and water quantity and quality), carbon and biodiversity.

Terra-i is developed by Louis Reymondin who works with Andy Jarvis and his team in the Decision and Policy Analysis unit of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT, Colombia) and is PhD student at King's College London, supervised by Mark Mulligan in the Department of Geography. Terra-i is the result of a collaboration between CIAT DAPAKing's College London, the University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland (HEIG-VD) (Andres Perez-Uribe) and is funded by The Nature Conservancy.

This article was authored by Mark Mulligan, Louis Reymondin and Andy Jarvis. It was first published on http://www.policysupport.org/home/blog.

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