Saving Our Forests From Space
Canada's landmass is almost 50 percent forest and accounts for approximately 10 percent of the world's forest resources. These forests contribute to how our climate is moderated by filtering air and water, regenerating soil, and preventing erosion. With increasing population and the subsequent demand on resources, the sustainable development and management of our forests has become of outstanding importance.
Remote sensing can deliver a range of social, economic, environmental, and scientific benefits to forestry management. It can, for example, create imagery to assess fire fuel hazard potential and pest and disease outbreaks in both native and planted forests. By integrating current and next-generation remote-sensing data with geographical and terrain information, scientists are able to provide solutions that are cost-effective and accurate.
Nicholas Coops is an expert in developing models, hardware, and software that allow remote sensing and other geographical and terrain information to be used for forest inventory, management, and conservation. As the Canada Research Chair in Remote Sensing, he is exploring advanced forest inventory techniques to help sustain the forests of British Columbia with the use of lasers and optical remote-sensing imagery.
In addition, Dr. Coops is investigating the application of remote-sensing imagery to computer visualization, to develop carbon accumulation modelling for greenhouse calculations, to assess wildfires, post-fire severity, and fuel hazard load mapping, and to detect insect damage using forest health indices. He believes his research will significantly benefit local and regional forestry communities and promote Canada as a leader in technologies that support national and international sustainability programs.