Coastal habitat mapping of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia
Creating the first coastal margin habitat maps for the Falklands and South Georgia from high-resolution satellite imagery.
Our coastal areas are of critical importance to both humans and wildlife, and knowledge of them is essential for their management and conservation. Historically in the South Atlantic, the coastal margins of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia have been subject to relatively little study. However, the Falklands have received increased pressures over recent years from shipping, tourism and oil production. While South Georgia has received less human impact, it is still home to globally important populations of marine birds and mammals, and their habitat extends around its coastline.
This new project seeks to utilise recently available satellite imagery alongside other spatial data and local expert knowledge to develop the first broad scale coastal margin (terrestrial, intertidal and subtidal) habitat maps for the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. Where there is significant uncertainty in these broad scale maps, or in response to specific priorities from stakeholders, higher resolution habitat maps utilising very high-resolution satellite imagery or bespoke imagery captured using aerial drones will also be developed. These habitat maps will create an essential baseline, providing a sound basis for use in future planning, decision-making and monitoring.
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This ambitious three-year project, due to conclude in March 2020, is truly an international collaboration and brings together expertise from a range of organisations across the globe. Together SAERI, Oregon State University, the UK Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Shallow Marine Surveys Group, Falkland Islands Government and Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands represents the leading edge in remote sensing, ecological knowledge and field expertise. The project is grant aided by the Darwin Initiative through UK Government funding.
Scope of work
The project is composed of five key work packages:
- Work Package 1 – Digitised 50 year old imagery for the Falklands
- Work Package 2 – Object-based image analysis and habitat modelling of the coastal margin
- Work Package 3 – The identification, prioritisation and fulfilment of information data needs for the systematic conservation and planning of the coastal margin of the Falklands and South Georgia
- Work Package 4 – Prioritisation of ongoing planning, protection and monitoring of coastal margin
- Work Package 5 – Integration of project outputs with existing and emerging initiatives
The project is overseen by a dedicated Project Management Group (Terms of Reference available here) who meeting quarterly. There is also a Project Stakeholder Group (Terms of Reference available here) who meet at least biannually.
The project is funded by the Darwin Initiative through the UK Government