Land restoration is identified by the international community as one method to reach the Paris agreement and solve part of the issues related to climate change. The restoration of millions of hectares within the next decade is starting. However a lack of visibility on these planting actions and numerous related issues such as slow or missing investments, inadequate governance, missing systematic monitoring and local capacity can be identified. Land restoration is a multi-sector and multi-stakeholder activity that encompasses financiers, planting companies, farmers, indigenous people, development agencies, certification companies, NGOs, governments and their ministries, universities and other education institutions as well as civil society.
HERMOSA is an acronym for Holistic Ecoystem Restoration Monitoring, repOrting, Sharing and mArketplace. It is a cloud-based service platform accessible through the internet, empowered by geo web-mapping and remote sensing technologies. It is the first all-in-one platform for identifying, selecting, monitoring and reporting on land restoration eliminating complexity while being the first comprehensive marketplace for land restoration activities supporting supply and demand. Due to the transparency and flexibility offered by the Free and Open Source Software solution, stakeholders are enabled to adopt ownership and strengthen their knowledge.
Users and their needs
The users of HERMOSA can be identified according to the service components and are very diverse in their backgrounds and interests. The following list is not comprehensive and complete but gives an overview of who has an interest in such a platform:
• planting companies
• supply-chain managers
• indigenous people
• development agencies
• certification companies
• universities as well as
• civil society.
All stakeholders have certain needs that are addressed by the HERMOSA platform:
- find the right location and the right partners in this location to implement the project of choice (HERMOSA-module: Identify & Connect)
- manage the implementation of the project. Due to size, complexity and number of stakeholders involved modern spatial data management is essential. (HERMOSA-module: Organize & Implement)
- once the project has been implemented not only project participants are interested in the progress of the project. Investors, controllers and also the local and global community are interested to know how the project is doing. (HERMOSA-module: Monitor & Report)
- Ecosystem restoration is a complex task so learning about or sharing best practices really helps. (HERMOSA-module: Learn & Share)
The users belong to all countries of the globe. For the development of this platform 3 pilot countries are chosen: Indonesia, Uganda and Peru.
Service/ system concept
The module „Identify & Connect“ basically consists of a kind of a multi sided market place, that gives visibility to the different offers and demands of the various stakeholders that are connected to/involved in ecosystem restoration. This may be the government that has committed to climate measures in the form of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and whose emissions are to be reduced by adopting mitigation measures such as planting trees. The government would like to be informed about all ongoing land restoration projects that have an impact on carbon sequestration in the country. Be it financiers, who would like to know about potential areas of land restoration published by planting companies. A spatial search for example will reveal land devoid of vegetation with a specific soil type and an inclination of less than 20° while at the same time having a population above a certain threshold in a buffer area of 50 km. At the same time the spatial search will reveal who is working in the area with which expertise and who might be willing to join a project consortium.
Planting companies or NGOs for instance are interested in creating visibility on their current planting projects for which they require support from financiers or simply to communicate with the government and to the other stakeholders about their existence and progress.
Territories of indigenous people can also be delimited and displayed to help solve the issue of land tenure and land protection/conservation.
All have an interest to gain visibility and representation. The goal of this module is to establish connections between this multitude of stakeholders
The second module „Organize & Implement“ is a cloud based Geographic Information System (GIS), that supports the organization and planning of planting activities through a set of GIS utilities and algorithms and a collection of analysis ready Geo and Earth Observation data. Due to the size of the project area it is not feasible to plant the thousands of hectares in one day. Instead a management plan has to be drawn up and communicated where the restoration efforts will start. This requires the transportation of people, water, fertilizer and seedlings to name one example. Since all activities take place in a spatial context it is paramount to have up to date maps with which to support the communication amongst the stakeholders.
The third module „Monitor & Report“ is a cloud based data processing engine, based on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), that can be integrated into the nationally existing local processing infrastructure. This module offers two usage modes. The first mode allows the access to a set of remote sensing data processing and Artificial Intelligence algorithms, that can be used as a tool box by a local advanced user to produce maps and perform geo-based analyses. The other mode offers a set of predefined products (e.g. land cover change maps based on the IPCC mapping guideline) that will be pre-computed and made available to the user.
The fourth „Learn & Share“ is about opening a space for learning, knowledge sharing and capacity strengthening opportunities. Is is a space that will be presenting guidelines, learning materials, documentations, videos and online workshops about various aspects that are connected with ecosystem restoration
Space Added Value
HERMOSA is using Free and Open Earth Observation data from the Copernicus program including Sentinel-1, Sentinel-2, Sentinel-3, Landsat, MODIS, ERS and more. Specific budget provided, it can also include Very High Resolution (VHR) data in case the analyses require high level of detail as provided by VHR capabilities. Some of the derived products from EO data are as follows:
- Above ground biomass map
- Above ground biomass change map
- Land use land cover map
- Land use land cover change map.
Other products from EO based data can be derived based on the various evolving user requirements. It goes without saying that space based positioning services are also used when it comes to the localisation of projects and assets.
Phase 1 of the 2-year demonstration activity was started in July 2019 and intense work to program the prototype and reach the first 2 milestones has started. The planification of the workshops to consolidate and validate the user requirements in the pilot countries is almost finished and the workshops are about to be delivered to the local stakeholders.