PhilSA partners with DENR for geospatial database creation, monitoring of nat'l reforestation program

A geospatial database of the country’s natural resources will be created through a signed partnership between the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

"PhilSA Director General Joel Joseph Marciano, Jr., Ph.D. (second to the right) and Environment Secretary Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga (second to the left) sign a Memorandum of Agreement on Monday to implement the "Use of Satellite Imagery in the Creation of the National ENR Geospatial Database and other related Programs of the DENR" project. With them are PhilSA Deputy Director General for Space Science and Technology Gay Jane Perez, Ph.D. (rightmost) and Undersecretary for Integrated Environmental Science Carlos Primo David, Ph.D. (leftmost)" (Courtesy of Philippine Space Agency)

The spaceborne data that will be gathered through this project will be used in monitoring DENR's National Greening Program (NGP) or the nationwide reforestation program, said PhilSA.

A memorandum of agreement was signed by both agencies at the DENR office in Quezon City on Monday, Feb. 6.

The project, called "Use of Satellite Imagery in the Creation of the National ENR Geospatial Database and other related Programs of the DENR," will be funded by DENR.

"PhilSA will generate monthly indices or maps on vegetation trends and biophysical parameters, and develop ways to detect forest disturbance and forest cover classification," the space agency said.

It will also assist DENR to enhance its monitoring capabilities in NGP areas and other forests through the use of "satellite remote sensing, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and geographic information systems."

"PhilSA officials present a 2020 mangrove map of certain areas of Pampanga River and Manila Bay as a token during the MOA signing event. The two agencies will work together on a project that will create a geospatial database of the country's natural resources such as mangroves." (Courtesy of Philippine Space Agency)

Moreover, PhilSA and DENR have also joined forces for the latter's National Resource Accounting Program (NRAP).

"For the NRAP, PhilSA will develop methodologies to produce annual mangrove extent maps and air quality maps. In the following years, PhilSA will generate maps that cover other natural resources," PhilSA said.

It will also provide technical capacity training that will help DENR personnel to adopt applicable technologies for the projects and develop systems and tools which can be used for mapping.

"PhilSA welcomes this outstanding collaboration with the DENR. This is a concrete step in further strengthening the domestic space value chain, specifically the capacity to transform satellite imagery and spaceborne data into insights and actions for the conservation, protection, management, and restoration of our environment and natural resources," said PhilSA Director General Joel Joseph Marciano, Jr.

"The partnership highlights the socio-economic benefits and value from our country's emerging space capabilities," he added.

DENR Secretary Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, in her speech, hightailed the importance of the space value chain: "The space value chain...actually helps us identify valuable ecosystems, habitats, and ecosystems services’ potential that are critical to the country’s development. And we look forward to this particular endeavor, for being a small initial step but growing in terms of impact, importance, and resources towards building a resilient and inclusive Philippines."