Nav: Home

Surrey Earth Observation expertise to monitor the internationally important Bacalar Corridor

November 05, 2015

A new remote satellite monitoring programme, powered by UK technology and expertise has been launched to help conserve a unique, fragile ecological corridor in the Caribbean.

Laguna Bacalar in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo is a 42km long lake renowned for its unique white limestone bottom and clear freshwaters. The wetland between the Laguna and the Chetumal bay, called the Bacalar corridor, is rated as the highest at-risk conservation area in the Caribbean ring, in need of immediate intervention to help preserve its important ecosystem.

Surrey Space Centre (SSC) at the University of Surrey will lead the project, funded by the UK Space Agency (UKSA) within the International Partnership Space Programme, that will use satellite data from UK/EU assets and locally sourced environmental information to enable near-real-time monitoring and impact analysis to help support environmental interventions by the Mexican government.

In collaboration with the Mexican Space Agency (AEM) and UKSA, SSC will lead the UK consortium made of Surrey Satellite Technology Limited, Satellite Applications Catapult and Deimos Space UK Limited, to deliver Earth Observation for the UK Climate, Environment and Monitoring from Space (CEMS) platform. This observation will analyse the impact of human activities in the Bacalar corridor, both in terms of conservation and ongoing harmful activities.

"The transverse coastal Corridor in the south-eastern Yucatan Peninsula is a complex system consisting of different ecosystems, while also being a popular tourist destination. This is one of the challenges Mexico faces: protecting the area while ensuring visitors can continue to enjoy it for generations to come," commented Dr Raffaella Guida, Senior Lecturer in Satellite Remote Sensing at the University of Surrey and PI on the project.

She continued, "Human activities are clearly having an impact on this delicate ecosystem. Monitoring the effect of these activities is urgent and represents one key deliverable for the project. SSC and its partners monitor this activity using satellite imagery and help provide evidence and support for a Mexican application which seeks to assign Laguna Bacalar as an International Relevant Wetland."

"Data from the Copernicus constellation, specifically from Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2, will be used in addition to Deimos-2 data to produce maps of the area showing, for example, how the land is currently used while Landsat imagery will be used for a comparison to detect changes occurred in the last 10 years."

"These images will give a unique insight into the effect of human intervention, both good and bad, on this internationally important wetland and will enable the Mexican government to put programmes that work into place. It is vital we measure the impact of these interventions in real-time due to the fragility of the area. This can then feed in to other international conservation efforts, showing how satellite imagery can address different and complex societal challenges."

The £1.5M project will last for 1 year, delivering an end-user tailored Earth Observation application for the monitoring of the Bacalar Corridor.
-end-


University of Surrey

Related Conservation Articles:

Targeted conservation could protect more of Earth's biodiversity
A new study finds that major gains in global biodiversity can be achieved if an additional 5 percent of land is set aside to protect key species.
Conservation endocrinology in a changing world
The BioScience Talks podcast (http://bioscience.libsyn.com) features discussions of topical issues related to the biological sciences.
Marine conservation must consider human rights
Ocean conservation is essential for protecting the marine environment and safeguarding the resources that people rely on for livelihoods and food security.
Mapping Biodiversity and Conservation Hotspots of the Amazon
Researchers have used remote sensing data to map out the functional diversity of the Peruvian Andes and Amazon basin, a technique that revealed hotspots for conservation.
Mapping biodiversity and conservation hotspots of the Amazon
Researchers have used remote sensing data to map out the functional diversity of the Peruvian Andes and Amazon basin, a technique that revealed hotspots for conservation.
Internet data could boost conservation
Businesses routinely use internet data to learn about customers and increase profits -- and similar techniques could be used to boost conservation.
Why conservation fails
The only way for northern countries to halt deforestation in the South is to make sure land owners are paid more than it costs them to conserve the forest.
Visitors to countryside not attracted by conservation importance
Countryside visitors choose where to go based on the presence of features such as coastline, woodland or abundant footpaths, rather than a site's importance to conservation, according to new research.
In communicating wildlife conservation, focus on the right message
If you want people to care about endangered species, focus on how many animals are left, not on the chances of a species becoming extinct, according to a new study by Cornell University communication scholars.
New partnership to boost Asia-Pacific conservation
The University of Adelaide and global organization Conservation International (CI) today announced a strategic partnership that will help boost conservation efforts in the Asia-Pacific region, including a global conservation drone program.

Related Conservation Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Setbacks
Failure can feel lonely and final. But can we learn from failure, even reframe it, to feel more like a temporary setback? This hour, TED speakers on changing a crushing defeat into a stepping stone. Guests include entrepreneur Leticia Gasca, psychology professor Alison Ledgerwood, astronomer Phil Plait, former professional athlete Charly Haversat, and UPS training manager Jon Bowers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".