Monitoring the reopening of roads in the democratic republic of Congo with EO data

Eurosense presented a paper about “Monitoring the reopening of roads in the democratic republic of Congo with EO data " at the EARSeL Workshop on Operational Remote Sensing in Forest Management in Prague (Czech Republic) on the 2nd-3rd June 2011.

Click to enlarge - Map changes in Banalia

Infrastructure projects are particularly important for the socio-economic development. But roads can also have a large impact on natural environment while opening new tracks. Changes in the accessibility of remote areas could increase illegal activities, in particular the illegal timber logging.

Within the GMES project called G-Mosaic (GMES services for Management of Operations, Situation Awareness and Intelligence for regional Crises), the critical asset working group developed geo-spatial information to monitor human and environmental impact of reopening roads, in DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo). This paper presents the Earth Observation (EO) derived tools to monitor forest changes along the route between Kisangani and Bunduki/Bondo.

The EO monitoring service combines frequently large area monitoring at high resolution (20m – 30m) with detailed annual monitoring at very high resolution (0,5 m) . First results quantify the number of clear-cuts along the road in the Rubi-Tele reserve. The number of patches increase from 2010 to 2011 but the total area in these clear-cuts is constant during the period.

Click to enlarge - Map status 20110527

The potential application of the developed tools in the context of REDD will be further developped in the REDDiness project. The project was obtained in the last calls of the seventh European Commission (EC) Framework Program and has just started in 2011. In REDDiness, up-to-date Earth Observation (EO) techniques will be adapted to local situation in order to assist Central African countries in addressing the challenges of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD). For both G-Mosaic and REDDiness projects, there is a high interest of measuring and mapping changes in the world’s humid tropical forests to derive national and regional figures for multilateral agreements and sustainable forest management.

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