Fire can be a villain and a hero. It poses a significant threat to human lives when it comes too close to our dwellings. Yet, it is also a key part of most ecosystems, allowing vegetation to turn over a new leaf. Until recently the extent of this global phenomenon has been difficult to quantify. Using the MODIS satellite, which flies overhead twice a day, we can identify fires from space. The imagery has been difficult for scientists let-alone citizens to access. With this new Fire Inspector web app, anyone can investigate where and when fires have occurred over the globe during the past two decades.
Play around with the app here: Fire Inspector
Rangelands cover 50% of the earth’s surface. The average livestock farmer has to manage hundreds to thousands of hectares of this precious resource on foot, horseback or vehicle – a colossal task.
For the first time, freely available satellite imagery can give farmers a bird’s-eye view of their farm from space. The only problem is that accessing this imagery is very difficult and once you have it, interpreting it is even more challenging.
SpaceGrazer aims to solve this problem. Farmers who use the SpaceGrazer mobile and web app, are able to obtain real-time satellite imagery and statistics on their farm’s forage availability, quality and a host of other user-friendly data.
All the farmer has to do is register, digitize their grazing camps/paddocks, and we will do the rest for you. Some of the information provided includes:
- Forage quality and availability scores down to the camp-level
- Interactive 3D maps of forage biomass
- Rangeland degradation status
- Woody plant cover maps
- Interactive historical trend graphs of the above stats
- Forage forecasts and early warning systems
- Grazing rotation management tool
According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation, meat and dairy consumption is set to increase 75% by 2050. For farmers to meet this rise in demand without compromising rangeland condition, they need tools such as SpaceGrazer to increase efficiency and sustainability.
Check out the SpaceGrazer app here: SpaceGrazer
The march of the woody plants! Although deforestation has been quantified and talked about in the media a lot, there is another trend taking place on the quiet outside of forests. Woody shrubs and trees have been increasing over Africa according to a new study conducted by ZSV consultant Zander Venter. Woody plant encroachment can have serious negative consequences for rural and commercial rangeland managers. Trees take up space that grasses would occupy and grasses are the most important forage resource for livestock. Trees can also drink large amounts of water from the ground and affect local hydrological cycles. This woody plant encroachment inspector web app gives striking examples of woody plant encroachment in South Africa using fixed-point photographs from the rePhotoSA database.
Play around with the app here: Woody plant encroachment inspector