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INAB and the UK Space Agency sign agreement to protect Guatemala’s forests

The UK Space Agency will fund a three-year £5.3 million project in Guatemala to use cutting edge technology to tackle illegal logging.

UKSA and INAB event

Guatemala’s National Institute of Forestry (INAB) signed the agreement to implement a system of Forestry Management and Protection (FMAP). In so doing, INAB is helping implement the country’s national plan of action to reduce and prevent illegal logging (PIPRTIG).

The funding is part of the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP), a five-year, £152 million programme, which supports the use of British expertise in satellite technology for international projects monitoring and addressing significant social and environmental issues.

The main objective of the agreement is to reduce the causes of deforestation in the departments of Peten, Alta Verapaz and Baja Verapaz by using cutting edge technology such as satellite remote sensing and the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). The project will monitor Guatemala’s forests from space with software installed in mobile phones or tablets.

The project will be developed in the pilot areas mentioned above for the next three years. The objectives of the project are:

  • To reduce the drivers of deforestation in Guatemala by creating a space technology driven forestry management tool.
  • To detect changes in land use by providing intelligence for DIPRONA enforcement officers, leading to a reduction in land-use crime.
  • To upgrade and improve existing traceability systems through the addition of space-based data and GNSS mobile applications to support better forestry management, enforce prosecutions and reduce fraud.
  • To increase the efficiency, impact and scalability of the forestry incentive programs by reducing the costs of monitoring and land-use verification in the current systems.

Amongst other benefits, the project will strengthen the capabilities of the personnel working on forestry governance by improving their use of modern software and technology. The Guatemalan authorities also expect to provide more transparency in the management of the national forestry system and to encourage more investments in this sector.

The agreement was signed by Ray Fielding, Head of the International Partnership Programme at the UK Space Agency; and Deniz Garcia, Deputy General Manager of INAB. Also present at the event the implementing partners of the project: Astrosat, Earth Observation Ltd, Telspazio Vega and Deimos.

Ray Fielding, Head of the International Partnership Programme, said:

We were pleased with the number of high calibre applications received under IPP Call 1; which will enable us to tackle challenging real-world societal and economic problems in developing nations. Each of the chosen projects are working closely with organisations in a developing country to create a sustainable change, and the Guatemalan focussed Astrosat FMAP project exemplifies some of the great work the UK space sector is doing globally.

At the signing event Thomas Carter, British Ambassador to Guatemala, said:

This is a very significant contribution by the British government to the efforts of the Guatemalan authorities to reduce illegal logging and improve sustainable forest management. Guatemala is blessed with large areas of pristine forest and we want to support Guatemala in its efforts to conserve them. Forests have an essential role to play in combating global warming, and this project will allow Guatemala to make a significant contribution to the international fight against climate change.

Published 27 February 2017