Planet data fuels Canadian boreal forest research as Planet E&R program celebrates fifth anniversary

The boreal forest is one of the largest intact ecosystems on the planet; However, an increasing number of human-induced environmental changes are impacting this vast ecosystem. Many integrated research programs focused on Canada’s boreal forests have joined forces to use the advanced satellite data available on Planet to document how past, present and future changes are altering the ability of the boreal forest to sustain biodiversity and ecosystems. people who inhabit this ecosystem. . Through the Planet Education and Research program, the University of Alberta, Yukon University and University of Calgary are now using Planet data to map, monitor and model the dynamic systems of Canada’s boreal forest.

Map of Canada’s boreal forests. Data sources: Natural Earth, University of Maryland, Natural Resources Canada. Card by Leanne Abraham.

“Biodiversity in the boreal region is facing new challenges due to growing industries and climate change, but Planet’s high-speed satellite imagery is helping us assess the changing ecosystem dynamics in the region and support data-driven decision-making in Canada,” said Erin Bayne, PI for the Boreal Avian Modeling Project. “A network of research initiatives is now using Planet data to assess bird populations, vegetation dynamics and industrial disturbances. This data then helps us model sustainable interventions to put these forests on an appropriate recovery path.

These interconnected projects support a comprehensive scientific understanding of this ecosystem using data from Planet:

  • The Boreal Avian Modeling Project (BAM) at the University of Alberta is a collaborative project engaged in new research that assesses the impact of extractive industries, agricultural conversion, and climate change on boreal birds. BAM combines historical point count surveys, digital bird song recordings, and satellite data, including PlanetScope, to determine the size of boreal bird populations. BAM uses this information in models to quantify the impacts of land use and climate change on past, present and future bird populations.
  • BAM feeds into Yukon University’s Boreal Ecosystem Analysis for Conservation (BEACON) networks. Hydrological and terrestrial connectivity, natural disturbance regimes, and species dynamics are all analyzed to identify ecological benchmarks that serve as reference areas for understanding the influence of human activity on boreal ecosystems. Using data from Planet, BEACONs is able to document the temporal and spatial scale of natural and human disturbances, supporting discussions with local stakeholders on proactive planning to maintain the full range of cultural, environmental and cultural values. economics of boreal systems.
  • Boreal Ecosystem Recovery and Assessment (BERA), led by the University of Calgary, is a multi-sector research partnership whose goal is to understand the effects of industrial disturbances, such as resource extraction, on natural ecosystems, and to develop strategies to restore landscapes affected by climate change. BERA leverages data from Planet, combined with other high-resolution remote sensing products like LiDAR, to conduct large-scale assessments of the status of natural recovery and the effectiveness of human interventions in the face of such disturbances.
  • BAM, BEACONS and BERA are working to address the growing number of challenges facing biodiversity in the boreal forest. To effectively share their research to facilitate policy and societal impact, they have created online data products and decision support tools, including those offered by the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI ) from the University of Alberta.

“At Planet, we believe you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Protecting Earth’s critical biodiversity requires innovative programs like BAM, BEACONS, BERA, and ABMI that conduct new research by measuring, monitoring, and modeling the dynamic states of ecosystems in the boreal forest. We are excited to provide our daily satellite datasets to researchers working to protect vital ecosystems,” said Joe Mascaro, director of science programs at Planet.

This new collaboration comes as Planet’s education and research program celebrates its fifth anniversary. Launched on Earth Day (April 22) 2017, our E&R program was designed to offer students, researchers and professors, associated with accredited universities, the opportunity to access our unique satellite datasets. Through this access, participants can view, download and analyze Planet’s remote sensing data archive and publish key results.

The program has grown over the past five years, and to date the number of universities purchasing Planet’s Education and Research site licenses for science applications has reached 80 schools in 16 countries, including the University of Yamaguchi in Japan, MIT and Arizona State University in the United States. , and Stockholm University in Sweden. Including Planet’s education and research program, their NICFI satellite data program, the company’s recent acquisition of VanderSat, and their partnerships with NASA and DLR, Planet’s data has now contributed to more than 1 800 academic publications since 2016.

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