Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  Energy News  


Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















FARM NEWS
Satellite Data Help Australian Ranchers
by Staff Writers
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Jan 14, 2016


Specialists collaborating with the NRM Spatial Hub at a field day in Alice Springs in Northern Territory, Australia, demonstrating to land managers how Earth observation technologies can support better land management decisions. Image courtesy Phil Tickle. For a larger version of this image please go here.

When Russell Lethbridge walks his property in northern Australia - kicking-up clouds of dust that catch the sunlight as he assesses the grasses, shrubs and brush that fill the landscape with muted tones of green - he carries the legacy of five generations before him on his shoulders.

"Werrington Station has been in our family for 117 years," Lethbridge said, "and each generation does its best to leave the property in a better condition than the one that came before it." Today, the Lethbridges maintain that tradition with the aid of NASA Earth observation data.

About 80 percent of Australia is rangeland - known as the "Outback" - much of which is grazed by domestic livestock. It's here that Lethbridge and his family run a herd of between 9,000 and 11,000 head of cattle to supply a range of markets - including the U.S. - with conventional beef, grass-fed beef and live cattle. The Lethbridge family and thousands of Australian families like them work the rangelands, helping supply the world's growing demand for meat, leather and wool, while carrying on traditions akin to those of generations of ranchers who have run cattle across the western United States.

Operations like Lethrbridge's are vital to feeding the world's rapidly growing demand for meat and wool, especially in the face of a changing climate. Global meat consumption is set to dramatically expand in the years ahead; meat imports in China alone are predicted to swell by more than 3,500 percent by 2050.

At the same time, many developing countries - struggling to keep up with the rising demand for meat - are slashing and burning tropical forests in favor of arable land for grazing. If properly managed, Australia's rangelands provide an opportunity to sustainably produce meat without contributing to deforestation.

Lethbridge needed to monitor his land in new ways in order to manage water resources effectively amid increasing pressures, to keep the land healthy, and to ensure his ranch is economically sustainable so that he can pass it onto future generations. He needed to step back and see his land from a distance to understand which areas were being over-grazed, where pasture was growing back and where his interventions to promote rangeland health were working.

Lethbridge turned to the Natural Resource Management Spatial Hub - a collaboration of more than 20 Australian federal and state agencies, research and industry organizations - which provides on-demand access to digital property maps using NASA's Landsat and MODIS data. In the case of both Landsat and MODIS, these data consist of moderate-resolution groundcover images.

Depending on cloudcover, new Landsat images of Lethbridge's property are available as often as every 16 days. With MODIS - an instrument aboard the Aqua and Terra satellites - new images are available every one to two days as long as clouds don't block the view, allowing land managers to track broad changes in land cover on a regular basis and in near real-time.

"Our work is focused on helping land managers make better decisions and be resilient in the face of droughts, which are on the rise and are projected to increase with climate change," said the Hub's Phil Tickle.

"The Hub lets users not only look at their farm today, but also over the last 30 years to really understand the impacts of drought, climate variability and ranching decisions, so they can learn and make better decisions accordingly."

The Hub's desired result: higher profits for ranchers so they can hold onto their land, healthier land, and a more sustainable way to supply the world's surging demand for meat and wool.

These are goals for Lethbridge, too. "To also have the opportunity to be a part of developing the skills of the next generation to ensure they can operate with success in an environmentally conscious world is hugely satisfying," Lethbridge said.

Among global efforts to monitor land cover and to understand the effects of land management decisions over time, Australia is one example of many. In the West African countries of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso, for example, researchers are using data from several NASA satellites to identify areas with agricultural potential and to estimate the amount of food available.

Another effort, lead by the international Group on Earth Observations, uses NASA Earth observation data to support rice farming in South Asia. Researchers there are improving food security and land use decision-making by generating maps that show how much land is cultivated with rice, the best times for farmers to plant rice (under projected conditions), and how well the rice crops are growing.

Although the Australia project is still in its early stages, the Hub is already seeing impressive results. They originally planned to work with 40 properties in their first year, but interest in their tools has exceeded expectations. They are now working directly with more than 120 different landowners throughout Australia, with another 100 on a waiting list and more still expressing interest every week.

Now, as Lethbridge walks his property with his family, he can look up and know that somewhere above, instruments are capturing information about his land that he could never collect on his own - offering new understanding that his ranching forebears could have never imagined, and that will make all the difference in the world for generations to come.

.


Related Links
NASA: Addressing Global Challenges
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
FARM NEWS
Future Grains
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 12, 2016
When global food prices spiked dramatically in late 2007 and into 2008, the costs of many basic dietary staples doubled or even tripled around the world, sparking protests and riots. Panicked governments stopped exporting food, aggravating the crisis. Almost as troubling: the crisis had taken the world by surprise. To keep it from happening again, international leaders created an agr ... read more


FARM NEWS
Giant icebergs play key role in removing CO2 from the atmosphere

Satellites find sustainable energy in cities

NOAA's GOES-S, T and U Satellites Are Shaping Up

NASA image: Haze hovers over Indo-Gangetic Plain

FARM NEWS
GPS vultures swoop down on illegal dumps in Peru

Northrop Grumman to support U.S. Air Force GPS modernization

Europe's first decade of navigation satellites

Indra will deploy navigation aid systems in 20 Chinese airports

FARM NEWS
NUS study shows the causes of mangrove deforestation in Southeast Asia

The Amazon's future

Tens of millions of trees in danger from California drought

Modeling Amazonian transitional forest micrometeorology

FARM NEWS
Second-generation biofuels can reduce emissions

NREL's Min Zhang keeps her 'hugs' happy, leading to biofuel breakthroughs

IU scientists create 'nano-reactor' for the production of hydrogen biofuel

EU probes UK aid to convert huge coal power plant to biomass

FARM NEWS
Pedal, solar power aims to be the new hybrid

SolarEdge's StorEdge Solution is Now Internationally Available

China Pushed Global Renewable Installed Capacity Beyond 900 Gigawatts in 2015

Green campaigners back Italian giant's tilt to renewable energy

FARM NEWS
Scotland sees local benefits from renewables

Dutch vote 'setback' to green energy plan: Greenpeace

South Australian Government renews energy for change

Approval of South Australian Wind Farm

FARM NEWS
U.S. coal getting squeezed

11 killed in China coal mine collapse: reports

Eight survivors found after Chinese mine cave-in

Chinese mine collapse leads to owner's suicide: state media

FARM NEWS
Mao Ze-gone as giant statue of Communist leader 'demolished'

China detains Swedish human rights worker: group

Hong Kong protesters call for release of missing booksellers

Six months after China crackdown lawyers strike back




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News








The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.