This is a part of the 2015 Fall VPS. For more VPS articles, click here
Category: Monitoring Change for Resource Management
Project Team: El Salvador Ecological Forecasting
Team Location: NASA Langley Research Center – Hampton, Virginia
Jordan Ped (Project Lead)
Dr. Kenton Ross (NASA DEVELOP National Program)
Tropical rainforests have been recognized as a major contributor to maintaining the global carbon budget and contain a significant portion of the world’s biodiversity. However, these ecosystems are threatened by deforestation and forest degradation and require careful management to retain their ecosystem services. La Mancomunidad La Montañona in Chalatenango, El Salvador is home to the critical Rio Lempa watershed where small scale farmers and pastoralists commonly practice slash and burn agriculture. Using NASA Earth observations in collaboration with Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN) and the Earth Institute of Columbia University, Agroforestry for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (ABES) Project, a methodology was developed for stakeholders and policymakers to monitor long-term changes in forest cover and identify indicators of forest degradation. A baseline time series showing forest cover and land use/land cover from December 1986 to January 2015 was used to forecast forest cover change. These predictions and tools will help assess priority areas for conservation and development of sustainable agricultural practices.