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Heiko Balzter

Professor Heiko Balzter

Professor Heiko Balzter

Research Fellow

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

Satellite concepts for reducing deforestation and mitigating climate change

Scheme: Wolfson Research Merit Awards

Organisation: University of Leicester

Dates: Nov 2011-Oct 2016

Value: £75,000

Summary: My research fellowship develops satellite concepts to reduce deforestation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change. Because of global deforestation, a large amount of greenhouse gases is released to the atmosphere. This accelerates global warming. Governments want to slow down and eventually halt deforestation as a way of combating dangerous climate change. Satellites are needed to monitor compliance and inform the public what is going on. Over the past year, my research group has simulated a new airborne radar sensor for mapping forests and analysed airborne data specifically acquired for this purpose. Radar satellites can see changes in forest cover, forest biomass and other environmental changes. These methods are now being used in the European Space Agency project GLOBBIOMASS, which will map the world's forest resources from space. Radar satellites can be used in different ways to combat deforestation: * By mapping forest biomass and providing information on where the highest biomass is located * By mapping logging tracks and alerting land owners and government agencies to a risk of logging This research has a potential impact on the quality of information on the state of global forests, the rates of deforestation and areas at risk from future deforestation. It can inform the public and agencies of changes in forests, and help reduce deforestation. As increasing finance is becoming available to combat climate change, this research can help create confidence that obligations from nations that want to reduce deforestation are being met.

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