Latest Earth Observation technologies are playing a more and more important role in agricultural management. Through providing data-driven and evidence-based decision support, sustainable agricultural management strategies can be established in the context of food security as well as in the domain of energy transition.
As human population increases and natural resources rapidly deplete, it has never been more imperative that we establish sustainable agricultural and agroforestry systems.
Guided by informative earth observation, we support customers through solutions for predicting yields, assessing critical situation regarding food security e.g. droughts and crop growth anomalies and providing guidance to authorities towards sustainable strategies for the energy transition.
Crop yields are influenced by biotic and abiotic factors that determine the crop growth during the whole growing period. These factors include temperature, rainfall, soil type, crop stress caused by pathogens or insects etc., but also management practices. The combined impact of these factors has a direct influence on plant vitality that can be assessed by remote sensing. Monitoring crop growth parameters (leaf area index, nitrogen status, biomass etc.) through a multi-temporal evaluation of multi-spectral satellite images allows for yield predictions at an early stage. RSS has developed workflows to map crop production for better yield estimates.
CHALLENGES IN AGRICULTURE
Under-nutrition is caused by a complex web of interdependent environmental, agricultural and socio-economic factors. Climate change is a new major risk factor. Assessing the link between weather variability, crop yield, and malnutrition is a key to project the additional impact of climate change on food security. The early identification of critical situations e.g. due to drought is therefore fundamental. In many rural areas worldwide, subsistence
farming is the major source of food production and the nutritional status of local people highly depends on crop yields. Remote sensing techniques support yield estimation, are already well developed and are an important information source for the early identification of crop losses. Authorities and institutions can plan their interventions more effectively and spatially more targeted if crop damages are identified early.
The energy transition is a major challenge for the European Union. Its implementation has increasing impact on regional development. Earth Observation can support planning processes by assessing the potential for the production of renewable energy (wind, photovoltaics, biomass etc.) per area unit. Together with research and development partners, we provide evidence based spatial decision support for the renewable energy sector which define regionally adopted, sustainable strategies for renewable energy production.
SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND THE CAP REFORM
The increased demand in renewable resources for energy production has caused changes in agricultural land use. There is an increasing pressure on grassland ecosystems, mainly through their conversion into croplands or the intensification of grassland use. RSS developed a monitoring system that allows to assess grassland use and its changes on regional scale. In addition, we offer inventories of potential ecological priority areas in agricultural landscapes in the context of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform .