Satellite Remote-Sensing Indices for Measuring Restoration

Project Context and Opportunity

Monitoring the progress of restoration is essential if the impact of interventions is to be assessed and used in adaptive management. However, monitoring at the landscape scale can be challenging, especially where landscapes are remote and inaccessible. Ecological monitoring data have traditionally been collected through field surveys which can be expensive and are often based on sampling a small fraction of the area of interest. These issues can limit our ability to effectively track progress towards landscape restoration goals and adapt management along the way.

Remote-sensing data collected by satellites can be used to describe conditions across extensive areas of habitat. After processing, these images can be standardised, allowing comparisons to be made across space and time. They can also be examined retrospectively, for example to assess habitat condition before a project began. However, remote-sensed data are frequently not used to their full potential in conservation management, due to barriers including a lack of awareness of the possibilities of remote-sensed data, limited technical capacity, and a lack of a clear framework for their use.

Project Aim

This project will facilitate the use of satellite remote-sensing data in ELP projects and large-scale restoration projects more widely, enhancing their ability to monitor the effectiveness of their actions and informing adaptive management.

The project also aims to enable ELP restoration projects to monitor and evaluate the progress of landscape-scale restoration through time using satellite remote-sensing data, and to use such data to prioritise future restoration activities.

Project Impact

This project aims to have the following impact:

  1. Identify indicators derived from satellite remote-sensing data that are readily available or calculable by individual projects, and likely to be appropriate for monitoring progress of ELP restoration projects;
  2. Develop and share open-access data and code to support the ongoing use of remote-sensed data for monitoring and evaluation by projects;
  3. Use existing ELP restoration projects as case studies to demonstrate the use of remote-sensing indicators;
  4. Develop and disseminate guidance on the use of remote-sensed data products and indicators for monitoring large-scale restoration, including via a training webinar.

Project Partners

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)
University of Cambridge

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