Space Agency returns to earth to protect forests

A Scottish firm has secured a £14.2 million contract from the UK Space Agency to monitor and protect rainforests. Sustainability software and developer Ecometrica won the work from the agency’s recently launched […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

A Scottish firm has secured a £14.2 million contract from the UK Space Agency to monitor and protect rainforests.

Sustainability software and developer Ecometrica won the work from the agency’s recently launched International Partnership Programme (IPP).

The IPP aims to bring together expertise from the British space industry to provide green, economic or social benefits to underdeveloped nations and economies.

The Forests 2020 project is set to help manage and protect around 300 million hectares of tropical jungle around the globe – this is an area 12 times the size of the UK.

Dr Richard Tipper, Executive Chairman of Ecometrica, said: “We all know how important tropical rainforests are to the survival of the global ecosystem but most people are only just waking up to the fact that we need to use technology to make sure conservation efforts are effective and properly directed.

“The Earth Observation platforms will ensure threats such as fires and illegal logging are detected sooner and make the response on the ground faster and more cost effective.”

It will lead an international consortium of forest monitoring experts, including experts from the University of Edinburgh and the University of Leicester.

It will also partner with researchers in Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya and Mexico to assess threats to rainforests in their vicinity.

The project is due to finish in 2020.