Research

The Tropical Rain Forest Information Center (TRFIC) is an activity funded by the NASA Research, Education and Applications Solution Network (REASoN) program. TRFIC is also a member of NASA’s Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP). TRFIC provides access to domain expertise data and information specific to changes in the tropical forests based on direct measurement from high resolution, multi-temporal satellite remote sensing data and field level observations from networks of collaborative scientists in Southeast Asia, West Africa, and the Latin America. TRFIC houses the largest archive of Landsat data outside of the U.S. Federal Government and has developed a web-services application (www.landsat.org) that provides user access to these data. This application employs a distributed database architecture, which peers with the USGS EROS Data Center (EDC), and uses web-GIS to provide search, browse, and order capabilities for data in the TRFIC archive as well as the USGS EDC archive through a single portal. It is the only application of its kind providing such data services.

 

Basic, fundamental research on deforestation and forest degradation in the tropics is on-going with scientists at the Global Observatory for Ecosystem Services at Michigan State University. Global change science, carbon cycle science, and the interactive relationship between land use/land cover and climate change, all rely on robust, accurate and repeat measurements of land use and land cover change over large areas at landscape-level resolution. Our most recently funded activity under NASA’s Carbon Cycle Science Land Cover Land Use Change (LCLUC) Program is focused on enhancing global scale observations on tropical forest change using Landsat data.

 

Collaboration with regional science networks in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America has been instrumental to the overall success of our research programs. Such partnerships have been nurtured for over fifteen years through co-funded research projects, capacity-building workshops and trainings, and data collection campaigns at the field level. The Asia-Pacific Foundation for Global Change Research (APN) has funded five activities alone in the past seven years with our colleagues in Southeast Asia. Our most current APN research activity is with partners in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam focused on training, capacity building and project development using advanced techniques for estimating carbon sequestration with remotely sensed satellite data.