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
Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases
13.03.2017 | Penn State
How nature creates forest diversity
07.03.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
28.03.2017 | Life Sciences
28.03.2017 | Medical Engineering
27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences