Peatland Assessment in SE Asia by Satellite (PASSES)
Tropical forest fires affect 20 million+ people in SE Asia, leading to significant deteriorations in public health and associated premature mortalities. Fires also contribute substantially to global CO2 emissions and other widespread negative environmental impacts. Many fires occur over drained peatland areas. Climate change and existing land use trends mean that, without intervention, peat fire frequency and impact are expected to increase. The only long-term intervention is to retain the natural hydrology of intact peat swamp forests and raise water levels in disturbed areas. However, the costs of restoring and maintaining peat condition across huge peatland areas (~250K km2 in SE Asia) are enormous. The planning and prioritisation of such activities, as well as monitoring intervention effectiveness, is therefore vital. Furthermore, better observations of peat condition also enable improved understanding of the delivery of peatland ecosystem services. Satellite observations of peat condition can play a hugely valuable role in peatland monitoring, but currently are under-exploited. A recent advance in satellite interferometric SAR (InSAR) data processing by University of Nottingham (UoN) shows a remarkable capability to map peat condition (via vertical displacement), even when under a forest canopy. The PASSES project will combine this capability with information derived from conventional satellite measurement techniques to develop a comprehensive peatland monitoring service. PASSES will also demonstrate that wide area, routine, comprehensive monitoring of peatland can now also be cost effective, through exploitation of freely available, continuous observations from satellites through the EU Copernicus programme and exploitation of emerging industrial hosted processing capabilities
Indonesian Government, private sector companies and NGOs use the PASSES system to inform peatland management and restoration strategies and activities. More efficient and effective allocation of both public sector and private sector resources for peatland restoration and management Wider scale (Malaysia and across tropical peatlands) interest in/use of the PASSES system to support peatland management and restoration strategies and activities Improved monitoring of peatland condition through EO enabling more efficient management of peatland in Indonesia and Malaysia
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