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Remote Sensing For Assessing Environmental Impacts Based On Sustainability Indicators

Remote Sensing For Assessing Environmental Impacts Based On Sustainability Indicators

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Remote Sensing For Assessing Environmental Impacts Based On Sustainability Indicators

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  1. Remote Sensing For Assessing Environmental Impacts Based On Sustainability Indicators John C. TrinderSchool of Surveying and SIS UNSW Sydney, Australia 1st Vice President ISPRS

  2. IMPACT OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT • Humans are modifying the energy and mass exchanges that occur between the atmosphere, oceans and biota • The resulting changes may be beyond the resilience of the Earth’s environment to absorb them • Sets of compatible global data are required for analysis of key terrestrial variables • WSSD declaration includes the three ‘pillars’ of Sustainable Development: economic, social and environmental protection

  3. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT • Sustainable Development: • Adoption of practices of environmental use and management which provides for a satisfactory standard of living today, and which will not impair the capacity to provide for future generations. • Development that meets the needs of the present without foreclosing the needs or options of future generations • It requires equilibrium between production and the consumption of energy • Achieving a sustainable society cannot be divorced from issues of equity, welfare, lifestyle and standards of living

  4. SUSTAINABILITY IN TERMS OF ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS • Need to take into consideration economical, ecological and sociological issues • Ecological economics – based on transformation of ‘Natural Capital’ into ‘Man-Made Capital’ • Optimal growth occurs when marginal cost of natural capital transformation equals marginal benefits to mankind • There is a limit to the extent of natural capital • When development involves transformation above optimum, it is unsustainable

  5. TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE • Scenarios for developing a sustainable human society (Gallopin & Raskin 2002) : • market forces • policy reform • eco-communalism • muddling through • Ecosocial market (Rademaker 2004 ) • consensus, and respect for civil rights and human equity • human behaviour is agreed globally by social contract • Decisions based on inputs from all stakeholders (Azapagic 2005) • Economic, social and ecological issues must be considered when developing sustainable society

  6. Sustainable Development Indicators (SDI) • developed to monitor progress and assess the impact of policies on natural resource development • exact measures of single factors and their combination into meaningful parameters • compresses information on a relatively complex process, trend or state into a more readily understandable form • may be application specific • should be unbiased • sensitive to changes • convenient to communicate and collect. • separate SDIs for economic, social and ecological

  7. Development of SDIs • Many examples on SDIs • OECD - 23 indices based on natural sciences, policy performance, accounting framework and synoptic indices. • IISD – International Institute for Sustainable Development • UN – DSD • World Bank • Alliance for a Sustainable Atlanta

  8. Environmental and Sustainability Indicators for Canada (NRTEE) (2003) • National natural and human capital indicators • Supplementing existing economic indicators will provide a more robust picture of the state of the national capital • Air quality • Fresh water • Green house gas emissions • Forest cover • Wetlands • Human capital (Education attainment)

  9. Typical SDIs for Land Practices • Sustainable land practices: • nutrient balance, yield trend and variability, land use diversity and land cover • amount of tree cover • impact on soil and/or water • conservation of native habitats. • Agriculture • yield trends, coefficients for limited resources, material and energy flows and balances, soil health, modelling and bio-indicators

  10. Analysis and Combination of SDIs • Multiple SDIs cause difficulties in assessing sustainability • Methods suggested to combine multiple SDIs to produce a measure of sustainability • Rule based system • Fuzzy logic analysis • Principal component analysis • Concept is still being researched – is it appropriate?

  11. SDI FRAMEWORKS • Simple approach to developing SDIs inadequate • New approach - frameworks for SDIs which include linkages between the three areas:- • Typical conceptual frameworks recommended by authors: • domain-based, issue-based, goal-based • Olalla-Tárraga (2006) • hierarchical concept • economic, social and ecological each subdivide into ‘area’, ‘objective’, ‘attribute’, and ‘indicators’

  12. I N D I C A T O R S Dimension Objective Attribute Area Environment Sustainable Development Social Economic Hierarchical framework of indicator system.

  13. Characteristics of Sustainability Indicators (Becker 1997) • Criteria • Scientific Quality • Ecosystem relevance • Data Management • SustainabilityParadigm

  14. Remote Sensing for Sustainable Development • Identify parameters measurable by remote sensing sensors • Relate them to sustainability indicators • Typical parameters: • Vegetation stress • Agricultural • Yield estimates • Soil condition and erosion • Land subsidence due to mining or water withdrawal

  15. Vegetation stress • Effects of stress on vegetation caused by withdrawal of underground water has been studied in Florida • Vegetation - pond-Cyprus • Laboratory scans in NIR and mid infrared regions of the spectrum of dried milled branch tips • Chemical changes in the vegetation revealed in the data • An indicator of unsustainable withdrawal of water from the aquifers • Similar studies of stress on vegetation due to lack of water have been made on red gum plantations in Australia

  16. Agricultural yield estimates • Remote sensing data, combined with agro-meteorological data, can provide daily, weekly and annual information on crop condition and status • This data can also be used to generate yield estimates and comparisons of annual production trends • Similar measurements made in Canada

  17. Soil condition and erosion • Remote sensing input - direct and indirect indicators may be derived through spectral characterisation of the soil (if exposed) or of vegetation conditions (if covered) • changes of the soil surface composition over time are indicators of land degradation, salinity and erosion

  18. Mapping surface expression of salinity in south western Australia

  19. Land subsidence due to mining or water withdrawal • Differential interferometric SAR (DInSAR) is a precise for measuring mine subsidence • Can detect illegal mines by surface subsidence • Subsidence of surface due to withdrawal of underground water • Permanent scatterers over built-up areas – PSInSAR can give very high precisions of ground subsidence.

  20. Typical Plan View of Longwall Panels

  21. Cross Section of a Typical Longwall Face

  22. Mine subsidence in 24 Hours – ERS Tandem DInSAR • Master: 29 October 1995, ERS-1; Slave: 30 October 1995, ERS-2; • Remarkable result of subsidence in 24 hours Subsidence

  23. PSInSAR result of ground subsidence in Perth

  24. Trend of groundwater level 1995 - 2004 (CSIRO)

  25. REVIEW - TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE • Scenarios for developing a sustainable human society • Ecosocial market (Rademaker 2004 ) • Decisions based on inputs from all stakeholders (Azapagic 2005) • Economic, social and ecological issues must be considered when developing sustainable society • Remote sensing deals primarily with ecological issues • Linking to economic and social issues is essential

  26. Linking Remote Sensing to Social Sciences and Economics • Remote sensing determines ‘what’ and ‘where’ of changes • Social sciences aim to determine ‘why’ and ‘who’ • Economics deals with ‘how’ and ‘who’ • Relating data from social sciences and economics to remote sensingpresents considerable difficulties. • The reason for suggesting frameworks

  27. where & what why & who how & who

  28. where & what why & who how & who

  29. Conclusions • Definitions of sustainable development have been given • Assessment of sustainability should be based on appropriate indicators - SDIs • There is still a lot to be learned about SDIs to ensure sustainability of development • The SDIs must consider relationships within the three areas of sustainability – economic, social and environmental • Examples demonstrate how remote sensing can contribute to developing SDIs • There is still significant unexplored potential for remote sensing to contribute to further the development of SDI