A simple remote sensing based information system for monitoring sites of conservation importance

Zoltan Szantoi, Andreas Brink, Graeme Buchanan, Lucy Bastin, Andrea Lupi, Dario Simonetti, Philippe Mayaux, Stephen Peedell, James Davy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Monitoring is essential for conservation of sites, but capacity to undertake it in the field is often limited. Data collected by remote sensing has been identified as a partial solution to this problem, and is becoming a feasible option, since increasing quantities of satellite data in particular are becoming available to conservationists. When suitably classified, satellite imagery can be used to delineate land cover types such as forest, and to identify any changes over time. However, the conservation community lacks (a) a simple tool appropriate to the needs for monitoring change in all types of land cover (e.g. not just forest), and (b) an easily accessible information system which allows for simple land cover change analysis and data sharing to reduce duplication of effort. To meet these needs, we developed a web-based information system which allows users to assess land cover dynamics in and around protected areas (or other sites of conservation importance) from multi-temporal medium resolution satellite imagery. The system is based around an open access toolbox that pre-processes and classifies Landsat-type imagery, and then allows users to interactively verify the classification. These data are then open for others to utilize through the online information system. We first explain imagery processing and data accessibility features, and then demonstrate the toolbox and the value of user verification using a case study on Nakuru National Park, Kenya. Monitoring and detection of disturbances can support implementation of effective protection, assist the work of park managers and conservation scientists, and thus contribute to conservation planning, priority assessment and potentially to meeting monitoring needs for Aichi target 11.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRemote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2016

Bibliographical note

© 2016 The Authors Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Zoological Society of London. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

Funding: Biodiversity and Protected Area Management (BIOPAMA) joint initiative of the European Union and the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States secretariat.


  • Information system; land cover change; Landsat; monitoring; protected areas; remote sensing


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