Authors: Merna Saad, Amanda Bordeaux, Steven Brigida, Scott Conover, Faith Mwiza, Emmauel Muzungu
Mentors/Advisors (affiliation): Dr. Kenton Ross (Langley Research Center)
Past/Other Contributors: Quinten Geddes, Sarah Lewis-Gonzales , Joshua Abe, Jeffery Kent, Kevin Butler, Keith Jaszka, Talia Fox, Lara Janse Van Vuuren, Christopher O’Brien, Andrew Li, Benjamin Wykes, Suzanne Wong, Aditi Sharma, Marvin Karugarama
Team Location: NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia; and Wise Circuit Court Clerk Office, Wise, Virginia
Abstract: The topography of Rwanda, especially in the Western Province, is dominated by mountains and steep hills. The combination of steeply graded land, high seasonal rainfall, and deforestation leads to severe soil erosion. Of the 11 million people in Rwanda, about 91 percent live as subsistence farmers. This exerts incredible pressure on the local environment and has resulted in widespread deforestation in Rwanda. The Rwandan government has made environmental restoration a priority, but until recently there has been no way to effectively monitor the success of restoration efforts. Building upon past DEVELOP work that created tools for monitoring reforestation and created comprehensive land classification maps and soil erosion susceptibility maps, this project aims to increase the scope by using data provided by NASA Earth Observing Systems (EOS) to create four mapping techniques that will enhance monitoring and restoration efforts. These decision support tools include mapping vegetative cover, forest health, soil erosion susceptibility, and comprehensive land cover classifications through Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI), Leaf Area Index (LAI), and Net Primary Productivity (NPP). These products will be transitioned to the Rwandan Embassy and established partners to assist with conservation efforts throughout Rwanda.
Transcript available here.