Caitlin Curry, Durham University / United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

Like many water-bodies in Indonesia, Lake Rawa Pening in Central Java has reached ecologically unsustainable levels of water-quality degradation, eutrophication and sedimentation. This is a consequence of the progressive intensification of agriculture in the uplands and the associated transportation of both sediment and nutrient-rich fertilisers into local hydrological systems. In order to deliver sustainable solutions to continuing environmental problems there is a pressing need to expose the relative spatial contributions of agricultural diffuse pollution within the watershed. This study aimed to determine the potential benefits of utilising unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) in conjunction with a diffuse pollution risk model (SCIMAP) when highlighting areas of critical risk in the Kemambang catchment. The combination of high-resolution remote sensing and SCIMAP modelling allowed for the spatial distribution of erosion, hydrological connectivity and diffuse pollution risk to be accurately mapped. From this, individual farmers can be made aware of critical zones or agricultural practices that are considered high-risk and adjust their practices accordingly. UAV’s therefore have the potential to revolutionise future management of the watershed; the high ground-resolution of the generated 3D land surface model and land-cover map can be used concurrently with modelling results as the basis for targeted reforestation on a sub-field scale. This will not only help to mitigate the ecological degradation of the lake, but can be used as the groundwork for a multitude of other environmental management projects in the region.

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