A Scotland-based business has just netted a £14m contract to help protect tropical forests with their clever new satellite data. The company is called Ecometrica, head quartered in Edinburgh, and their software is the first to be able to interpret satellite imagery at high speed. This means researchers can pick up on threats like illegal logging and encroaching agriculture before it’s too late, a really important development for rainforest conservation.
Ecometrica wins a UK Space Agency contract
The UK Space Agency has offered the contract, and inventors Ecometrica are soon set to start work with experts in six more countries – Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya and Mexico – to help protect threatened ecosystems and direct conservation efforts and resources. The project is called ‘Forests 2020’ and is set to improve rainforest management and protection across a whopping 300 million hectares of tropical forest.
Bringing in extra expertise
Ecometrica will be sub-contracting experts from the Universities of Edinburgh and Leicester as well as another Edinburgh-based company called Carbomap. The funding comes courtesy of the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme, which is designed to join the dots between British space knowledge, undeveloped nations and developing economies.
Making a real difference on the ground
It’s hoped that the initiative will make a real difference to the people on the ground working to preserve the world’s forests, which are crucial to the survival of the world’s ecosystem and ultimately to our survival . The Earth Observation platforms will detect threats like fires and illegal logging faster, which in turn will make on-the-ground response quicker, cheaper and more effective.