Changes to vegetation can have a significant impact on health, resilience, growth, and sustainable development. Ensuring ecological stability and biological productivity over a large area is a common goal for landscape policy and management. The Eco-Dash tool was created in response to a need expressed by project managers to track the performance of landscape-scale efforts to maintain biological productivity. In the current version, this tool tracks changes in the Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) calculated using MODIS multispectral data with a pixel resolution of 250 x 250m. EVI is a measure of relative biomass and is particularly well-suited for high-biomass areas of the globe.
Maintaining ecological stability and/or biological productivity over a large area is a common goal of landscape scale policy or management interventions. The development of this tool was prompted by a need expressed by project managers to track the success of their efforts in this context. In the current version, the focus is on the Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) calculated using MODIS multispectral data with a pixel resolution of 250 x 250 m. EVI is a measure of relative biomass particularly suited to high-biomass areas of the globe.
The comparison of broad-scale biological productivity in an area from one period to another has applications beyond projects seeking to monitor the effects of their interventions. This tool can also potentially be used to provide insight into changes related to climate change, urban expansion, infrastructure development, and other impacts.
The tool is made possible by connecting the user interface with Google Earth Engine, a cloud computing platform that links extensive data archives with substantial processing power. This architecture makes formerly heavy analyses time and cost effective for users.
Beyond the comparison of EVI, the design of this tool reflects a more general “proof of concept” of an application that is particularly well-served by large scale remotely sensed data: the comparison of conditions in a large area from one time period with another using calculations based on remotely sensed gridded data. In its general architecture, the tool can support the analysis of any type of gridded data and future iterations will allow users to select from a number of possible datasets.
Launch Eco-Dash Tool
Beyond comparing biological productivity as described above, the approach of this tool has other promising applications such as providing insight into changes related to climate change, urban expansion, infrastructure development, and other impacts. It is envisioned that future versions will integrate measures relevant to these use contexts
This tool is currently being used by sustainability projects to gain insight into and report on the effectiveness of their interventions. Users are encouraged to explore other uses such as assessing the effects of land use and infrastructure changes where a known timeline can be compared with the detailed graphs generated by the tool. Beyond comparing one time period with another, users can also explore the utility of comparing one area where an intervention or impact is known to have occurred with another (control) area.