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Satellite analysis used to map the scale of deforestation by Australian beef farmers

Satellite images are increasingly used to document changes on earth, including the presence and size of Uyghur Muslim detention camps in China and secret missile bases in Iran.

Satellite analysis was used in a survey by the Unearthed branch of Greenpeace to identify the significant deforestation carried out by the beef industry in Australia.

Analyzing images from Sentinel Hub satellite data, Dr Martin Taylor of the University of Queensland has identified 13,500 hectares of deforestation in his local state since 2018 – an area more than twice the size of Manhattan – across 57 cattle properties butcher’s shop.

READ: Space for good – how new satellite technology can help save the planet

This forest destruction occurred despite the passing of new laws by Queensland in 2018 to curb deforestation, as Unearthed said gaps left some landowners considerable leeway to continue large-scale clearing, including in areas classified as probable habitats for threatened species.

Brazilian meat giant JBS, the world’s largest meat processor, which has significant operations in the region, could not rule out whether any of its meats came from the identified properties.

Unearthed said UK buyers may soon be purchasing meat linked to deforestation from Australia, as meat exports are a major part of the trade deal currently being negotiated with the UK, based on the ‘deal signed in June that included increasing duty-free beef quotas for Australia over the next decade, and where UK ministers quietly abandonment of commitments on climate change of the demands of Great Britain.

Satellite analysis for Unearthed was performed by Dr. Taylor using Sentinel Playground, a free Sentinel Hub web application that uses platform technology to enable easy discovery and exploration of Sentinel-1, Sentinel-2, Landsat 8, DEM and MODIS at full resolution. imagery.

The GUI creates a massive resource for anyone interested in analyzing natural or man-made changes to the Earth’s surface.

It is part of a trend in the growing use of satellite imagery, from nonprofits to investigative journalists.

Spire Global Inc (NYSE: SPIR), for example, uses its constellation of over 100 small CubeSats to observe data and predict environmental changes and also provide marine tracking services, while Planet Labs Inc and Iceye Oy both provide change detection services where their collection of satellites are used to photograph every square inch of the Earth’s surface and allow fine comparisons to be made.

Planet’s technology has been used to document the existence and size of Uyghur Muslim detention camps in China, a secret missile base in Iran, and illegal deforestation in the Amazon.


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