. 24/7 Space News .
New partnership aids sustainable growth with earth observations
by Samson Reiny for GSFC News
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Feb 26, 2018

illustration only

NASA and the nonprofit Conservation International are partnering to use global Earth observations from space to improve regional efforts that assess natural resources for conservation and sustainable management.

Under a three-year agreement signed on Feb. 22, NASA will support two Conservation International-led initiatives, one focused on land ecosystems in Africa, the other on water resources along the Mekong River in Southeast Asia. NASA researchers will analyze and model remote-sensing data from the agency's fleet of Earth-observing missions and commercial satellites, mapping ecosystems at regional and national scales. Satellite data, with its coverage of broad swaths of terrain, are critical for understanding the impacts of human activity on the environment.

The long-term goal of the NASA-Conservation International collaboration is to develop decision-making tools and practices based on satellite observations of Earth that can be used worldwide.

"Space-based remote-sensing systems provide critical benefits, since they enable fine-scale, accurate measurements to be made over the entire globe," said Woody Turner, NASA's program manager for ecological forecasting in the Science Mission Directorate's Earth Science Division. "With these initiatives, we aim to create and test standardized analysis approaches that can then be applied to ecosystems around the world, once again demonstrating the benefits to society of NASA's satellite data and research."

The first of the two Conservation International initiatives is the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa, a commitment by member African nations and nongovernment entities to ensure that the contributions of the natural world to sustainable economic growth and human well-being are quantified and integrated into development and business practices.

The second initiative is development of a Freshwater Health Index, a tool for evaluating the health and sustainability of freshwater resources to inform planning and management. A pilot program using the index is currently in place along the Mekong River.

The Gaborone Declaration was the result of the 2012 Summit for Sustainability in Africa held in Botswana, which brought together countries from around the continent to address the challenge of growing their economies while protecting their natural resources.

Conservation International helps coordinate implementation of the declaration, which aims to drive sustainable development in signatory countries through activities such as ecosystem accounting, which is a framework to value the goods and services that ecosystems provide.

For example, a forest may supply food for sustenance and commerce or support ecotourism jobs. A forest may also help other elements of the ecosystem such as rivers by preventing erosion, filtering sediment and drawing in rainfall.

A country's natural resource contributions are then assigned monetary values, allowing them to be considered alongside the values from more traditional economic sectors such as mining, agriculture and energy production to provide a more comprehensive economic accounting.

By using remote-sensing measurements and advanced analysis techniques to make detailed maps of hundreds of thousands of square miles of ecosystems, NASA is contributing to the first critical step in the framework. "Space-based remote sensing is essential because these areas are very large," said Turner.

"By applying NASA's integrated Earth systems science approach, we're also able to show how air and fresh water quality, along with biodiversity, are connected within and across these vast ecosystems. Conservation International contributes the economic theory that allows valuation of the natural systems."

"At the moment, few of these natural resources are incorporated into national statistics, and as a result, they are absent from macroeconomic indicators that countries rely on for important policy- and decision-making," said Daniel Juhn, a vice president for Conservation International. "The potential for using ecosystem accounting as a means of treating nature as an economic sector is compelling. So far 13 governments in Africa have signed on to this because they see the value in this information to help transform their economies to better achieve their sustainable development goals."

The other collaborative sustainable growth initiative, the Freshwater Health Index, is a web-based decision-support tool that allows users to monitor the health of major freshwater systems and other interdependent ecosystems. The index provides detailed insight into the tradeoffs of various human impacts and identifies high-priority, high-leverage human actions that improve the economic contributions of fresh water ecosystems.

As part of their pilot program along the Mekong River, Conservation International has worked with governments and other stakeholders to implement policies that preserve forests and associated ecosystems that sustain the river, adopt sustainable fishing practices and support industries such as ecotourism that provide economic value while also preserving natural resources.

The Mekong River, which flows through several countries before discharging into the South China Sea, provides food and employment for hundreds of millions of people. Overfishing, dam development and deforestation, among other activities, have threatened the livelihoods of those who depend on the river's resources.

Much of the work to date with the Freshwater Health Index has been targeted at local decisions and impacts, with collaboration between representatives from villages, provinces and national agencies. NASA has already collaborated with Conservation International to develop models that allow decision-makers to evaluate the impacts of proposed dam construction on fisheries and water allocation. Conservation International now plans to apply NASA's remote-sensing techniques to scale up its efforts to the entire Mekong basin, with an aim toward developing models that can forecast the outcomes of climate change scenarios.

"There's demand from our partners in Asia for tools to model the impacts of climate change on the Mekong basin," said Derek Vollmer, senior director of freshwater science for Conservation International. "What impact would a drought or more variable precipitation have on various freshwater indicators? I see a large role for NASA in lending its expertise in crafting and analyzing the impacts of these climate scenarios."

For more than five decades, NASA has used the vantage point of space to understand and explore our home planet, improve lives and safeguard our future. NASA brings together technology, science and unique global Earth observations to provide societal benefits and strengthen our nation.

Related Links
Earth Science at NASA
Earth Observation News - Suppiliers, Technology and Application

Thanks for being there;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

paypal only
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

Swarm trio becomes a quartet
Paris (ESA) Feb 23, 2018
With the aim of making the best possible use of existing satellites, ESA and Canada have made a deal that turns Swarm into a four-satellite mission to shed even more light on space weather and features such as the aurora borealis. In orbit since 2013, ESA's three identical Swarm satellites have been returning a wealth of information about how our magnetic field is generated and how it protects us from dangerous electrically charged atomic particles in the solar wind. Canada's Cassiope satell ... read more

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Ensuring fresh air for all

Vice President Pence Hosts National Space Council at NASA's Kennedy Space Center

Trump's Privatized ISS 'Not Impossible,' but Would Require 'Renegotiation'

Japanese, US astronauts end spacewalk to fix robotic arm

SLS Intertank loaded for shipment, structural testing

Space-X lobs Spanish military satellite into orbit

RS-25 Engine Throttles Up for Deep Space Exploration

Russia jails four for embezzling millions from cosmodrome project

Seven ways Mars InSight is different

Nearly a Decade After Mars Phoenix Landed, Another Look

Opportunity Continues to Benefit from Dust Cleaning of the Solar Panels

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter ready to start sniffing the methane

Long March rockets on ambitious mission in 2018

Chinese taikonauts maintain indomitable spirit in space exploration: senior officer

China launches first shared education satellite

China's first X-ray space telescope put into service after in-orbit tests

Goonhilly goes deep space

Iridium Certus broadband readies for DOD wsers with COMSAT

Airbus and human spaceflight: from Spacelab to Orion

Iridium Announces First Land-Mobile Service Providers for Iridium Certus

Silk fibers could be high-tech 'natural metamaterials'

Squid skin could be the solution to camouflage material

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected

Sixty years of technology in space - what's changed?

Study: Mushrooms became hallucinogenic to keep away insects

Asteroid 'time capsules' may help explain how life started on Earth

NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite arrives at KSC for launch

Humans will actually react pretty well to news of alien life

New Horizons captures record-breaking images in the Kuiper Belt

Europa and Other Planetary Bodies May Have Extremely Low-Density Surfaces

JUICE ground control gets green light to start development

New Year 2019 offers new horizons at MU69 flyby

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.