Conservation applications of astronaut photographs of Earth: Tidal-flat loss (Japan), elephant effects on vegetation (Botswana), and seagrass and mangrove monitoring (Australia)

Citation
Ja. Robinson et al., Conservation applications of astronaut photographs of Earth: Tidal-flat loss (Japan), elephant effects on vegetation (Botswana), and seagrass and mangrove monitoring (Australia), CONSER BIOL, 15(4), 2001, pp. 876-884
Citations number
37
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Environment/Ecology
Journal title
CONSERVATION BIOLOGY
ISSN journal
0888-8892 → ACNP
Volume
15
Issue
4
Year of publication
2001
Pages
876 - 884
Database
ISI
SICI code
0888-8892(200108)15:4<876:CAOAPO>2.0.ZU;2-C
Abstract
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) photographs taken by a stronauts from low Earth orbit can provide information relevant to conserva tion biology. This data source is now more accessible because of improvemen ts in digitizing technology. Internet file transfer, and availability of im age processing software. We present three examples of conservation-related projects that benefited from the use of astronaut photographs. First, NASA scientist requested that astronauts photograph the area of the controversia l Isahaya Bay reclamation project in Japan. Japanese researches used photog raph from before and after the reclamation as a tool for communication with the public about the effects of tidal-flat loss. The newly acquired images and the availability of high-resolution digital images from NASA archives provided timely public information on the observed changes. Second, we digi tally classified and analyzed a Space Shuttle photograph of Chobe National Park in Botswana to identify the locations of woodlands affected by elephan ts. Field validation later confirmed that area identified on the image show ed evidence of elephant damage. Third, we used a summary map from intensive field surveys of seagrasses in Shoalwater Bay, Australia, as reference dat a for a supervised classification of a digitized photograph taken from orbi t. The classification distinguished seagrasses, sediments and mangroves wit h accuracy approximating that in studies using other satellite remote-sensi ng data. Astronaut photographs are in the public domain, and the database o f nearly 400,000 photographs from the late 1960s to the present is availabl e as a single searchable location on the Internet (http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/ sseop). These photographs can be used by conservation biologists as a sourc e of general information about the landscaped and for quantitative mapping.