Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Gorillas to be guarded from orbit


A joint ESA and UNESCO scheme to keep watch on endangered gorilla habitats from space is the subject of a two-day ESRIN workshop this week.

Representatives of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), the World Wildlife Fund, the International Gorilla Conservation Fund and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and United Nations Environment Programme are among those who will attend the meeting in Frascati near Rome to discuss possible partnership and agreement in joining efforts.

As Mario Hernandez, UNESCO, describes, "it was a century ago this year that the mountain gorilla was first scientifically described, dwelling in the high rainforests of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Today, due to ongoing deforestation and illegal poaching, they are a critically endangered species - there are only about 650 of them left alive. There are also separate subspecies of lowland gorillas that are also endangered. However the situation indicates that we are still in time to reverse the process."

UNESCO together with the involved countries has recognised the mountain gorilla habitat and specifically the area included in the Virunga National Park in the Congo, bordering Rwanda and Uganda, and the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda to be World Heritage Sites. But these habitats are increasingly coming under pressure as regional conflicts cause an influx of refugees. Some clear forest land for agriculture or fuel, or else poach for food have reduced the living space left for the gorillas. That is why the WHC has classified the sites in the Congo as World Heritage sites in danger.

Wildlife workers on the ground are limited in what they can do. By area these habitats total more than eight hundred thousand hectares, with long boundaries across extremely inaccessible and seldom-mapped terrain. UNESCO and ESA agreed last October to begin a pilot scheme using satellite data to monitor the changes of land use in the gorilla habitats and to identify possible environmental indicators.

Radar instruments on board satellites such as ESA`s ERS-2 and Envisat can pierce through the near-total cloud cover of the rainforest to identify illegal forest clearance or settlements, data which can be integrated with ground observations provided by organisations working in the area and passed to local authorities.

"The case study selected to demonstrate the potential use of Space Observations is challenging due to lack of maps, weather conditions, high quality surveys and reference ground measuments," says Luigi Fusco from the ESA Earth Observation Application Department. If this pilot scheme is a success, the plan is to extend it to the monitoring of other UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are more than 700 such sites worldwide."

Luigi Fusco | ESA

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>