Satellites support businesses working for sustainable development

itt Benckiser. Earth Observation value-adding companies Sarmap in Switzerland and Ambiental Technical Solutions are applying both optical and radar satellite imagery to sustainable management and forest protection, with certification being provided by the Forest Stewardship Council, an international non-profit organisation.

"We'll be examining the standards currently used in forest certification and looking at the way data is currently collected which is mostly in-situ," said Charles Eyre of Aon.

"We'll be assessing if the current sources of data are accurate, whether data frequency is sufficient and the transparency of data collection and one of the key issues is cost. We hope to cover both plantation forests as well as natural forests and look at how certification relates to the emerging market for forest eco-services."

A further contract led by Earth Observation value-adding company Definiens AG of Germany is examining CSD reporting in forestry for pulp and paper manufacture. Working with companies including UPM Forest CE and Bayerische Staatsforsten with a focus on test sites in Bavaria as well as the Czech Republic, the project will seek to use Earth Observation to improve sustainability in exploitation and logistics of timber.

In addition regularly updated information on large forest areas will be provided, so forest managers know how much wood will be available at any one time on a sustainable basis. Up-to-date maps of forests and conserved areas will also be compared with information from wood suppliers to prevent protected wood being utilised, risking damage to a company's hard-earned reputation.

Towards better management of water resources

Sustainability concerns extend also to water bodies: another project led by Germany-based AMEC Engineering is addressing this issue by utilising satellite sensors to assess water quality of freshwater bodies. Multispectral satellite sensors such as Envisat's

Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto
European Space Agency

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