SIG provides partnership development and project management support to the Science and Data Lead for SERVIR Amazonia, a $9 million NASA and USAID-funded program to deliver geospatial information to organizations in the Amazon region. SIG is supporting SERVIR by providing expertise on geospatial technologies, including: land use and land cover monitoring systems leveraging machine learning to identify habitat change; climate suitability models for planning climate-resilient landscapes; geospatial scenario analyses to assist with water-related conflict resolution; and ecosystem service evaluations integrating soil carbon, biodiversity, and water resources.

SERVIR-Amazonia joined the global SERVIR network in early 2019, bringing state-of-the-art land monitoring technology to land managers in this globally critical ecosystem. Based in Colombia, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) implements SERVIR-Amazonia together with consortium partners SIG, the Institute of Agricultural and Forest Management and Certification (IMAFLORA) in Brazil, and Conservación Amazónica (ACCA) in Peru. The SERVIR hub will focus on development activities in Brazil, Peru, and Colombia, with impacts that reach into Ecuador, Guyana, and Suriname. Like other SERVIR hubs, SERVIR-Amazonia will develop services in collaboration with multiple stakeholders, including government agencies, civil society, the private sector, indigenous groups, women, and marginalized people. The hub will empower people in the region to track environmental changes in near-real time, evaluate climatic threats, and rapidly respond to natural disasters. By putting tools into the hands of land use professionals in the field, SERVIR-Amazonia is improving local technical capacity and job skills, saving money, and helping preserve one of the planets’ most valuable ecosystems, one satellite scan at a time. 

For full project information, please see the SERVIR Amazonia website:

Deforestation for gold mining in Peru caused the loss of more than 96,000 hectares of primary forest in the last 30 years. In February 2019, the Peruvian government started an unprecedented mega-operation aimed at eradicating illegal gold mining in La Pampa, the most impacted area of the country, located in the buffer zone of the Tambopata reserve. While the Peruvian government has been carrying out operations destroying mining hardware and infrastructure local communities have not been regularly engaged in the planning and decisions.

The Radar Mining Monitoring (RAMI) service produces near real-time information on deforestation and mining activity in the southern Peruvian Amazon. It has two major objectives. First, to quickly identify possible new illegal mining fronts in priority areas, such as protected area buffer zones, as well as persistent activity in degraded areas. Monitoring persistent activity includes assessing growth of ponds and detecting activity by identifying changes in water spectral signature. The second objective is to classify the occurrence of the activity (illegal, informal, and formal) according to the government’s new formalization process, to better understand how legal mining impacts the forest as distinguished from illegal mining.

SIG aided in the development of a desktop verification tool for near-real time disturbances–gold mining in Colombia (CoMiMo) This platform integrate the image viewing and labeling technologies of CEO with near real-time mapping results so a user can assess the status of mapped land cover changes using freely available high resolution images. This allows office staff to quickly verify if mapped alerts of illegal activity warrant involvement by rangers or field staff. Because of the potentially dangerous nature of enforcing illegal activities, data security and anonymity of the data is of paramount importance. Within this tool we have allowed for different configuration options and ensured data and users remain secure.

Timely information on deforestation and forest degradation can help communities target their protection efforts against invasion and illegal activities such as land grabbing, mining, and illegal logging. However, the areas where forest communities live in the Amazon are vast, making it difficult for the communities to monitor their lands. Community-based initiatives and development projects running in the Brazilian Amazon could benefit from the use of satellite data and tools to improve their territorial knowledge and support the planning of their activities on the ground.

The TerraOnTrack (Increase the Protection of Forests Managed by Community-Based Initiatives in the Brazilian Amazon) service is a web application that introduces resources that allow traditional communities and indigenous people to quickly identify potential threats to their territories and monitor illegal activities on the ground, which in turn will increase forest protection and territorial management capacity. The service contributes to community-based initiatives and will initially focus on the north region in the Para State where there are several protected areas, indigenous people, and territorial projects running. It will be applied in territories managed by traditional communities and indigenous people currently involved in a consultation process. The service is divided into three main components: (i) mapping the territory of the communities that will use the tool; (ii) mapping and monitoring deforestation and forest degradation within these areas and beyond using advanced satellite and radar datasets (e.g. SAR, Planet); and (iii) developing a web-based platform with near-real-time deforestation and degradation alerts to help communities monitor the land-use change in their territories.”

Mangrove forests make up much of the coast of Guyana and they are under threat from growing population and land-use change. Rising sea levels and coastal development also threaten mangroves. The Monitoring and Evaluation of Mangroves in Guyana service brings Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and other remote sensing resources to map the extent and structure of mangrove forests along the coast of Guyana. The service consists of a platform for automating the analysis of radar and optical imagery going back several years and setting a year-2020 baseline for future analysis. This service makes mangrove-related land-use change transparent and the resulting analysis publicly available for use by government and civil society to: 1) act on hotspots of deforestation and stop them on time; 2) engage in land-use planning, policy-making and actions that protect mangroves from being converted to other land uses; and 3) plan mangrove protection efforts for farmers in low-lying coastal regions. The service serves larger efforts of forest and biodiversity conservation in Guyana.

This free online Google Earth Engine textbook is the product of more than a year of effort from more than 100 individuals, working in concert to provide this free resource for learning how to use this exciting technology for the public good. The book is broadly organized into two sections. The first half, Fundamentals, is a set of 31 labs designed to take the reader from being a complete Earth Engine novice to being a quite advanced user. The second half, Applications, presents the reader with a tour of the world of Earth Engine across 24 chapters, showing how it is used in a very wide variety of settings that rely on remote-sensing data. SIG employees were responsible for several chapters and their associated labs on topics including, but not limited to: image manipulation, image classification, image regression, funciton fitting to time sereies, change detection, and forest degradation mapping.

TerraBio brings together USAID/Brazil, the Alliance of Bioversity International/CIAT, and the private sector. Designed as a monitoring methodology, TerraBio’s goal is to assess the impact of private investment on biodiversity conservation in the Brazilian Amazon. The tool uses an innovative model that combines satellite imagery, environmental DNA, local data, and other information. TerraBio directly monitors land cover change and biodiversity on an annual basis. The assessed biodiversity metrics and landscape metrics are used to characterize changes in the landscape and habitat availability for native species.

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