Landsat Lends Chimps a Hand

  • Released Monday, September 4th, 2017
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:47PM
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From space, what used to be lush chimpanzee habitat in the rainforests of central Africa is now being threatened. Between 1972 and 1999, people have cut down significant swaths of forests southeast of Gombe National Park in Tanzania. As the forests disappeared so did the chimpanzee habitat, and the chimp population has been struggling. Data from NASA’s Landsat missions are helping scientists at the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) use satellite imagery to observe chimpanzee habitats inside and outside of Gombe. In 2005, JGI started a forest monitoring program in partnership with the local community, and in 2009, equipped villagers with GPS-enabled smartphones and tablets to report their observations of potential threats to local forests and wildlife. The imagery from NASA’s Landsat missions and the observations of local citizens pushed Tanzania to develop the Village Forest Reserves, a taskforce created to manage natural resources. Watch the video below to learn more.

Continuous destruction of chimpanzee habitat, seen by the abundance of brown in 1999, led to increased protection of natural resources.

Continuous destruction of chimpanzee habitat, seen by the abundance of brown in 1999, led to increased protection of natural resources.

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NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio