How Monitoring Land Cover Change Helps APRIL Meet its SFMP 2.0 Commitments
Companies like APRIL use a range of advanced technologies to help protect production landscapes and conservation areas. But perhaps one of the most important is the technology which allows companies to monitor changes and trends in land cover.
Land cover refers to the surface cover on a particular area of ground – e.g.: trees; vegetation; bare soil; water; buildings; etc. And the capacity to measure changes in land cover has become an essential tool in helping tackle deforestation, illegal logging and other land management issues.
APRIL uses Geographic Information Systems and remote sensing technology to accurately monitor changes in land cover. Specifically, the company is able to access images provided by the Operational Land Imager remote sensing instruments on the U.S. Landsat 8 satellite. These images have a spatial resolution of up to 30 meters x 30 meters and are updated every 16 days. Images are available to download within 24 hours of acquisition.
Regular spatial monitoring allows oversight of all activities related to land cover and land use. The process involves comparing images taken at different times to identify change over that timeframe. The Monitoring & Analysis teams identify areas that experience land cover change, and then develop reports of land cover change, based on the satellite imagery.
Following mapping and analysis, the teams submit their reports to management personnel across a range of departments including operations, sustainability, and fire assessment.
Once the reports have been reviewed, field investigation teams made up of personnel from the planning, Social Government Relations (SGR) and forest protection departments, are dispatched to conduct field assessments and verify the cause of the identified land cover change.
Upon completion of field verification the field teams quantify the area of land cover change and report the results with details and site photographs of the cause of change back to the Monitoring team for entry into a database for trend analysis. For each issue identified, the SGR team will address by reporting the matter to the authorities and socializing the issue with local community stakeholders as appropriate, and request the operational manager of the affected area to assess rehabilitation needs and confirm boundary markings are visible.
Taufan Chrisna, Head of Operations Planning, APRIL, says: “This land cover monitoring process takes place continually and is a critical element in helping us meet the commitments in our Sustainable Forest Management Policy 2.0. The process helps us to quickly identify potential problems, like encroachment or deforestation, and means we can more efficiently devise solutions to address them”.