Much of southern Africa can be considered to be terrestrial drylands, and agriculture and biodiversity within these environments are increasingly challenged, due to climate change, land use and land cover change, invasive species, pollution, land degradation etc. It is clear that in certain areas, agriculture must transition to adapt to a changing physical environment, to remain resilient and sustainable in the future. Improved agricultural practices generally need to include attention to biodiversity conservation, including genetic and habitat diversity; since nature-based solutions comprise an essential tool for a healthy agricultural and biodiversity sector.
The availability of earth observation data such as field, drone/aircraft, and satellite remote sensing-based are useful for assessing both anthropogenic and natural systems at multiple scales. We use a suite of remote sensing data from passive sensors such as Landsat, Sentinel-2, PlanetScope, MODIS, DESIS, EnMAP, PRISMA and active sensors such as Synthetic Aperture RADAR (SAR) and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR).
Typical research topics include
- Achieving positive synergies through addressing both climate change and biodiversity in a multifunctional dryland landscape
- Detecting and Mapping crop types, production and diseases
- Implications of climate change for different land management units in a dryland environment
- Mapping historical, current and future land use and land cover change in various ecosystems
- Mapping plant species, including invasive species, land degradation and biodiversity loss in various ecosystems
- Modelling and estimation of satellite remote sensing-derived biophysical and biochemical parameters for various biomes (e.g. savanna, grassland, karoo etc)Rangeland monitoring and management in various ecosystems
- Validation of satellite-derived biophysical and biochemical parameters for various biomes (e.g. savanna, grassland, karoo etc.)
Staff involved include Prof Emma Archer, Prof Rebecca Garland, Prof Abel Ramoelo, Dr Philemon Tsele