Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Satellite images aid implementation of agricultural reforms

An ESA-backed project has demonstrated how Earth observation satellites can assist in the cross compliance measures – a set of environmental and animal welfare standards that farmers have to respect to receive full funding from the European Union – included in the 2003 reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy.

Using very high resolution (VHR) satellite images for monitoring whether land is safeguarded in Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC), as outlined within the cross-compliance framework, ensures subsidies are distributed in a fair and timely manner and helps farmers complete subsidy applications more accurately.

High resolution satellites as well as aerial photography have been used for some time to monitor areas where subsidies are provided. VHR Earth observation (EO) satellites, however, offer more detail compared with HR satellites and are capable of identifying various landscape features and detecting potential erosion, tillage practices and maintenance of pastures.

Under the GAEC standards implemented in some countries, farmers cannot remove certain landscape features, including hedges, tree rows, water ponds, walls and single trees, without authorisation of national administration in order to preserve habitats for different organisms and species.

By using special classification procedures on VHR satellite images, identification of these landscape features is possible. In combination with digital aerial images, even single trees can be delineated. By comparing older and recent images of these same areas with the processed ‘reference landscape feature’ layer, the removal of these features can be detected.

To protect soils against erosion risks and improve soil structure, the GAEC as applied in some countries, states farmers must establish an ‘environmental cover’ for a buffer width, stipulated by the country itself (e.g. 5 metres), around waterways on all parcels adjacent to waterways to restrict diffuse pollution in waters and soils.

Pastures, permanent crops, woods, hedges and paths are considered ‘environmental cover’, while mainly arable land and crops are not. Because satellite images allow for the interpretation of agricultural parcels, compliancy can be easily detected. Photo interpretation by remote sensing speeds up the process and allows many parcels to be checked in one time.

Tillage practices are also important for reducing erosion as they can reduce the runoff of water across the land surface. The GAEC stipulates that farmers have to plough or plant parallel to contour lines to avoid erosion on slopes more than or equal to a certain percentage defined by the country (e.g. slope of 10 percent).

By detecting parcels within this slope range, detecting the slope direction and the ploughing or planting direction, it is possible to calculate the angle between the slope and ploughing direction, taking into account the soil-sensitivity to erosion, and determine whether the farmer is compliant.

In order to receive subsidies for permanent crops, the GAEC requires that farmers properly maintain them. Using VHR images, the distinction between crops that are ‘maintained good’ and crops that are ‘possibly maintained badly’ can be detected, allowing authorities to visit the fields in question to detect whether they are abandoned or neglected.

This project was funded by ESA’s Earth Observation Market Development (EOMD) programme, aimed at fostering the development of EO data within business practices, and carried out by EUROSENSE, a company that specialises in remote sensing.

Mariangela D'Acunto | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Forest Management Yields Higher Productivity through Biodiversity
14.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Farming with forests
23.09.2016 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

New method increases energy density in lithium batteries

24.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

International team discovers novel Alzheimer's disease risk gene among Icelanders

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

New bacteria groups, and stunning diversity, discovered underground

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>