Monday, October 29, 2007

DMCii satellite imaging helps dramatically reduce deforestation of Amazon Basin

Terra Daily: The Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE) has placed a contract for a third year with DMC International Imaging Ltd., (DMCii) to acquire high-resolution satellite images of the entire 5 million square kilometres of the Amazon rainforest. Since 2004 INPE's programme to monitor deforestation has dramatically reduced the rate of logging from 27,000 per year to about 10,000 in 2007.

In order to rapidly identify areas of cover change, DMCii is contracted to provide three repeat coverages in 2007 (June-July, July-August, September-October). In 2005, and again in 2006, DMC imaged the whole Amazon Basin in 6 weeks to provide Brazil with vital information to help monitor deforestation and combat illegal logging.

DMC imagery is provided by the five-satellite international Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC). The DMC small satellites, built by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), use wide area cameras to capture the high-resolution images. The latest satellite, built for China, was launched into the DMC on 27 October 2005. Two new DMC satellites will be launched in 2008 and a third in 2009.

Speaking at the Royal Society in London, 25th October, Dr. Gilberto Camara, Director General of INPE said, "The DMC data is an important affordable contribution to our assessment of deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. "The constellation is able to rapidly acquire and deliver high quality imagery so that we have up-to-date information to focus our efforts. It is our intention to develop a long term relationship with DMC"

…The Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE) INPE's mission is to make it possible for Brazilian society to benefit from new developments in space science and technology, mainly focusing on:

1. Increasing Brazil's autonomy in a number of strategic areas;

2. Providing the means for Brazilian industry to participate and become competitive in the space area;

3. Encouraging the development and dissemination of space technology;

Deforestation rates in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America have remained constant or have increased over the past two decades, altering global carbon emissions and climate while elevating the need for frequent and accurate assessment of forest loss. In the Brazilian Amazon alone, where the growth of cattle ranching and cropland agriculture are the primary causes of forest clearing, about 20,000 square kilometres of forest are clear-cut and burned each year….

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