The use of satellite data to estimate the biomass of forests and farmland is becoming more popular. Russian scientists sector satellite monitoring of land productivity of the Space Research Institute (IKI) of the Russian Academy of Sciences have developed a method to estimate the biomass of our forests and fields.
As the head of the sector of satellite monitoring of land productivity IKI, PhD Igor Savin at the congress "Biomass: Fuel and Energy — 2011", recently held in Moscow, these data can be used for various tasks. For example, to plan, grow crops, control of plant growth throughout the growing season, yield prediction and calculation of biomass and forest productivity. In particular, the method can be used to estimate biomass resources available for planning the construction of biotechnology factories refining.
What kind of information can be obtained with the help of satellite technology? Scientists have identified three main areas of operations. First, the study of the potential for the cultivation of certain crops. This technology allows us to estimate primarily land, important factors such as climate, soil properties, topography. Only with these data can maximize efficiency of planting.
The second important area of research — the definition of the status of plants, that is, the method allows to answer the question, what is the biomass of plants currently in the area. In addition, the method not only helps to determine the average biomass in the current moment, but also to analyze the data of the last 10 years, thus defining the effectiveness of further plant growth. The third area of work — monitoring of vegetation, allowing a high frequency (up to several times per day) to assess the state of the array of plants and planned yield of the current season.
Satellite data provide information on how the light reflected from the surface, is fixed spacecraft. On the basis of reflection light of different wavelengths of plant biomass can construct an algorithm determining the volume of ground green biomass. Scientists calculate indices relations reflecting infrared and red light. This is the most common type of vegetation assessment adopted worldwide. Its alternative — radar imaging, which allows to estimate the size of the mass of woody vegetation in the forestry sector, to monitor deforestation.
Based on the findings, researchers have developed maps, the purpose of which — to determine how suitable for the cultivation of various crops a territory — a particular region, the administrative county and even individual fields.
For example, these cards are built to optimize the cultivation of spring barley, flax and other plants. Very important is information about the soils and climate. It is worth noting that from the former USSR, it is not only not been updated, but by now outdated.
The method allows to build maps that clearly show how the best and the limited availability of land, and the factors that limit the use of land (they will determine the economic viability of the territories).
Among other approaches used by this group of researchers — mathematical modeling based on the average long-term data on the quantitative level, such as potatoes. However, such calculations are not yet possible for all cultures — to properly tune the model.
The spatial resolution in the construction of these cards — 250 m2 and 30 m2. A more detailed analysis of high resolution is theoretically possible, but it requires much more cost.
Read more about the cards can be obtained using satellite service analysis of vegetation "Vega", which has existed since 2001 and allows visualization of data on the state of the vegetation and Russia to monitor for any period.