Events & Media

The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
at the University of California, Santa Barbara



"Monitoring of the sugarcane crop for sustainable biofuel production using remote sensing images and
monitoring of soybean plantations in the Amazon biome within the Soy Moratorium context.

Bernardo Rudorff
Brazilian Institute for Space Research (INPE)

Monday, March 12, 2012
4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Bren Hall 1424

"Join us to learn how free access to data derived from careful remote sensing monitoring analysis is helping provide the transparency needed to implement effective environmental policies that regulate sugar cane and soybean expansion in Brazil. "
Conrado Rudorff, Bren PhD student, host, with John Melack

The sugarcane crop monitoring project using remote sensing images started in 2003 and has provided several results based on scientific methods and objective observations contributing to issues related to sustainable ethanol production from sugarcane in Brazil.  Annual maps of sugarcane have been generated to forecast sugarcane area available for harvest and also to evaluate the direct land-use change related to sugarcane expansion. The sugarcane harvest has been monitored since 2006 to evaluate the effectiveness of the “Green Ethanol Protocol” intended to reduce air pollution from the pre-harvest sugarcane burning practice. A website was designed to put the information derived from the remote sensing images for easy access on the Internet support academic uses and decision makers.

The Soy Moratorium is an initiative to reduce deforestation rates in the Amazon biome based on the hypothesis that soybean is a deforestation driver. Farmers who planted soybeans in that biome in opened areas after July 24, 2006, would not have their production commercialized by international soy trader companies.  The use of MODIS time series combined with Landsat images, aerial survey, and field work has been an effective method to detect and evaluate the amount of soybean plantation in recent deforestation. Results indicate that the Soy Moratorium is having an inhibitory effect on deforestation in the Amazon Biome and that soybeans have been only a minor driver of deforestation since the beginning of the moratorium.

Bernardo Rudorff is a researcher at the Brazilian Institute for Space Research (INPE), where he is responsible for the Remote Sensing Laboratory of Agriculture and Forestry. Currently he is coordinating a project named “Environmental and Socioeconomic Impacts Associated with the Production and Consumption of Sugarcane Ethanol in South-Central Brazil.”  In 2003 he initiated the Canasat Project (Monitoring of the sugarcane crop using remote sensing techniques) with the objective of providing information on the Internet for academic purposes and decision makers related to sustainable sugarcane for biofuel production in Brazil. More recently he has coordinated the monitoring of soybean plantations in recently deforested land in the Amazon biome within the context of the Soy Moratorium launched in 2006. He has experience in the field of agronomy and earth science, with emphasis on remote sensing. He received his BS in agronomy from the University of Viçosa, Brazil, his MS in remote sensing from INPE, and his PhD in agronomy/remote sensing from the University of Maryland at College Park.

NOTE: Research colloquia are hosted by Bren faculty members and are generally high-level talks about research in a particular area of environmental science and management.


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