In 2014, USAID and NASA announced SERVIR’s expansion with SERVIR-Mekong, implemented by the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) and its consortium partners -- Spatial Informatics Group (SIG); Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI); and Deltares. ADPC is a leading regional resource center on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in Asia. Since its establishment in 1986, ADPC has developed strong partnerships with national governments in the region, and with support from its development partners provides more than 20 countries with technical services and capacity building to build resilience against natural hazards in the most disaster-prone region of the world. As an independent non-governmental organization, ADPC contributes to achieving the objectives of the global Hyogo Framework for Action through a comprehensive approach to disaster risk reduction starting from the utilization of scientific knowledge to understand risk, and then extending to strengthening disaster risk management systems and the application of risk reduction measures. This hub will promote the use of publicly available satelli te imagery and related geospatial decision-support tools/products to help key stakeholders and decision makers in Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Vietnam better predict and manage floods and other natural disasters, improve agricultural risk management, manage land-use more sustainably, and help governments and communities increase resilience to the negative effects of climate change.


Vegetation Index Mapping for Lower Mekong Region

Food security and forest resources are critical concerns in many developing countries, especially because a changing climate increases uncertainties in weather patterns, the water cycle, and water availability. Climate change and an increasing world population put additional pressure on agriculture and forestry. Satellite remote sensing provides information about how vegetated land cover is changing over time due to urbanization, de-forestation, and agricultural practices, and is an effective way to monitor agricultural fields to determine whether current farming practices are producing optimal crop yields or need to be modified.

NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) data is of particular importance. It is an indicator, derived from the amount of light reflected by the land surface at two different wavelengths, of the amount and health of vegetation, including crops and forests. Dense green vegetation will have a high NDVI, while sparse or unhealthy vegetation will show lower values.

SERVIR recently provided geo-referenced NDVI for Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, and Burma to the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC)-hosted SERVIR hub in the Lower Mekong. The data, from Landsat-7 (c. 2001) and Landsat-8 (c. 2014), was obtained by Stennis Space Center.  Stennis  also wrote code to calculate NDVI for SE Asia and delivered the data in manageable sizes by geographic sector of the Mekong region. Stennis Space Center scientists will also provide training and deliver the computer code to the ADPC users.

Agricultural officials, urban planners, natural resource managers, forestry service personnel, and others will use the NDVI data to make informed decisions about crops, urban development, forest management, and more.

Future plans include development and delivery of impervious cover data products, that is, non-natural land cover such as buildings and paved surfaces.

Example Landsat-8 derived NDVI products computed for Cambodia

Difference in NDVI from 2001 to 2014 for a coastal region on the Gulf of Thailand

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