Strengthening Global Capacity on Synthetic Aperture Radar Applications for Forest Management

Published: Feb 22 2018

The first international workshop of the SERVIR SilvaCarbon training series on synthetic aperture radar (SAR) applications was held at AGRHYMET Regional Center in Niamey, Niger, from January 29 - February 2, 2018. SAR technology provides satellite imagery of the Earth under any weather condition during the day or night. AGRHYMET Science & Data Co-Lead Bako Mamane of SERVIR-West Africa and Regional Science Associate Rebekke Muench of SERVIR Science Coordination Office collaborated with Dr. Franz Meyer of University of Alaska Fairbanks and Alaska Satellite Facility and Dr. Josef Kellndorfer of Earth Big Data LLC in hosting and leading the week-long workshop.

SAR Workshop participants

Held in partnership with SilvaCarbon - a U.S. government program working to enhance capacity around the world in monitoring and managing forests - participants from six different countries from West Africa's research institutions and regional governments learned about the basic data processing steps for SAR and the applications of SAR to monitor change and deforestation while using satellite data from Sentinel 1. Training applications, for example, included analyzing deforestation in Rwanda and identifying charcoal production sites in Ghana. Participants left the week with a new community that they could rely on for their future SAR research.

The workshop in Niger marked the successful launch of a larger set of SERVIR SilvaCarbon training sessions to take place in other SERVIR regions for building international capacity on SAR forest applications. The global initiative addresses a long-recognized need to apply SAR data towards mitigating land use and land cover change challenges (such as forest mapping/monitoring and biomass estimation) for the international forest management community, while complementing local processes and decision making with SAR datasets.


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