About Our Program : Message from the Program Director

Hiroshi Koizumi
The River Basin Research Center,Gifu University

The research plan entitled, “Satellite Ecology,” led mainly by the River Basin Research Center at Gifu University, was selected as a 21st Century COE program for 2004. This program aims to create a comprehensive yet practical science, “Satellite Ecology,” by making an attempt to fuse and integrate ecological research, remote sensing analysis, and climate observations and modeling analysis. This will allow us to understand individual environmental issues on a regional scale, and to integrate and apply them to environmental challenges on a global scale. By doing so, we will gain ample understanding of complex ecosystems, such as river basins and regional ecosystems where systems of heterogeneous function and time-space scale are distributed successively. Analysis of such systems has previously been very difficult.

To date, in traditional environmental research fields, researchers have mainly focused on "ecological process research" and have gone into an actual ecosystem to observe the distributions of vegetation, biomass volumes, and growth of trees at several sites. In contrast, “Remote sensing observation” techniques, which utilizes satellite sensors to monitor environmental changes, forest and green tract distributions in urban areas, etc., has advanced dramatically over the last 30 years. In recent years, the evolution of such research methods has been remarkable, and it is now possible to examine the close relationships between the ecophysiological behavior of vegetation and the climate conditions. Moreover, dramatic improvements in satellite sensors now enable detailed observations of the distributions of various ecosystems (forests, urban areas, rivers, etc.) in regional environments and their changes over time. In addition, satellite climate models have advanced to the point that the relationships between the characteristics of ecosystems, geographic features, and climate phenomena can now be explained. The evolution of these research fields presents the opportunity to establish a new comprehensive and practical discipline, “Satellite Ecology.” This field will attempt to fuse and consolidate ecological research, remote sensing analysis, and climate observation and modeling analysis to comprehensively understand the environmental issues that directly affect our daily lives on a regional scale.

Satellite Ecology is a new research field found between the existing research fields or on their boundaries. At this COE, to develop and cultivate this new field of study, we plan to execute as follows:
1. Proactively seek exchanges with many researchers in other fields of study.
2. Promote exchanges with environmental field researchers overseas.
3. Train young researchers and engineers to develop the new field.
4. Keep our doors open to the community and have dialogues with the public, responding to their inquiries, questions, and requests.
5. Attempt to address and solve the problems unique to the region where this COE is located.
Accordingly, we encourage all of you visiting this web site to provide feedback, so that this new field will help enhance everyone’s daily lives.

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