NASA is working alongside Conservation International and the Liberian Government through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to pilot an innovative and replicable approach to more accurately map ecosystems to support effective planning and sustainable decision-making. A NASA research team has made land cover maps of the entire country for every year in the last two decades using images from the joint NASA and United States Geological Survey’s Landsat mission. The team then refined the classifications using very high resolution commercial satellite data and tree height information from the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) program.
The resulting land cover timeseries allows the researchers to see how human activities and natural processes have changed the Liberian landscape. Conservation International and the Liberian Government through the EPA refined those land cover maps using biodiversity information from their field studies and local knowledge from Liberian communities. The efforts of Conservation International and the Liberian Government through the EPA, combined with the NASA land cover maps, yield ecosystem extent maps which depict the changes in ecosystem types across the country.
Liberian government officials will be able to use this information to understand the impacts of various infrastructure projects or the cost of land conversion. The information will also help identify opportunities and determine how much funding to allocate for things like forest protection in order to adhere to the standards outlined in the new SEEA guidelines, which will be released in 2021.
GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 188.8.131.52.0