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RESTEC Researcher Wins the Environment Minister’s Award in the 2nd Space Development and Application Award

2016-03-30

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Diagram showing the change in the area lost as a result of illegal logging
Illegal logging area (in square kilometers)

We are pleased to announce that Remote Sensing Technology Center of Japan (RESTEC) Application and Service Department Senior Research Scientist Makoto Ono was recently awarded the Environment Minister’s Award in the Space Development and Application Award organized by the Cabinet Office. The prize was awarded in recognition of Mr. Ono and RESTEC’s contribution toward reducing illegal logging in Brazil through the use of satellite radar technology.

In a collaborative project that RESTEC undertook with entities such as the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), which is engaged in cracking down on the illegal logging of forests in the Brazilian Amazon region, and Brazil’s Federal Police Department (DPF), synthetic aperture radar (PALSAR) images from Japan’s “DAICHI” (ALOS) satellite were used to carry out regular forest monitoring. This prize was awarded in recognition of that project’s contribution toward reducing illegal logging.

In connection with the above-mentioned results, the President of Brazil and other officials mentioned reducing illegal logging at COP18, and there is also expectation that the satellite’s successor, “DAICHI-2” (ALOS-2), will be utilized.

The image on the left is optical imagery taken on August 17, 2009. It is possible to confirm clouds in the sky above Brazil. The image on the right is a SAR image of the same region, and it is possible to confirm the Earth’s surface through the clouds. Applying this technology made it possible to continuously monitor forest regions, which led to a reduction in illegal logging.

One can see that the illegal logging area decreased significantly over the project period (2009-2011). Furthermore, it is also possible to confirm that the reduction effect has been weakening since 2013 due to the impact of changes such as the suspension of ALOS’s operations. Consequently, expectations over ALOS-2, the successor satellite to ALOS, are also growing.

RESTEC is grateful to be awarded this auspicious prize, and will continue to unsparingly ramp up efforts on all technological and service fronts to ensure that it remains worthy of this prize in the future also.

* Definition of the Environment Minister’s Award*: Cases that are recognized as particularly distinguished achievements from the perspective of global environmental conservation, prevention of pollution, preservation of the natural environment, or other environmental protection.