Satellite Images Assessing Protected Areas
This important project will help provide the first global picture of protected area effectiveness in terms of conserving the world’s major ecosystems.
ZSL has recently commenced work on the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), a novel method of using satellite data to describe the ecosystem functioning of protected areas and their response to environmental change. This important project will help provide the first global picture of protected area effectiveness in terms of conserving the world’s major ecosystems.
Protected areas are dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity and have been recognised as the most important core ‘units’ for in-situ conservation. Considering their significance, baseline assessments and monitoring are essential for evaluating the effectiveness of management practices. Moreover, global environmental changes might derail conservation efforts, further highlighting the importance of improving the ability to assess and monitor these areas.
Field data is generally difficult to use for assessing how environmental changes might affect protected areas because such data are traditionally collected at small spatial and temporal scales and vary in their type and reliability.
Satellite imagery has the potential to revolutionise the ability to track changes in protected areas throughout the world, as satellite data can provide valuable information regarding land-use change and variation in primary productivity. Crucially, analysis of satellite-based indices can provide the information needed to differentiate areas that are successfully conserving habitat from those that require urgent attention.