About Our Program : Outline

Current research on environmental issues such as global warming mainly focus on observations of ecological processes such as the mechanism of carbon dioxide (CO2) fixation in the ecosystems of specific regions, mapping CO2 fixation capacity on the global scale by remote sensing analysis, predictive analysis of the impact of environmental changes, and so forth. Normally, after sufficient validation of each analysis, these research findings should be consolidated; however, the time-space scales for each research method differ remarkably, and it is difficult to cross validate the methods. Therefore, the results of each analysis have been independently presented and disengaged from each other.

However, recent progress in satellite sensor techniques has been remarkable and has led to a dramatic increase in the volume of information attained and an enhancement of the resolution of time-space. Accordingly, we are now ready to demonstrate and validate remote sensing analysis by utilizing it in observations and comparisons of ecological processes of a given ecosystem. Moreover, modeling analysis based on such outcomes will enable us to integrate and understand ecological issues on regional and global scales.

The goal of this COE program is to become a leader in a novel attempt to merge and consolidate ecological research, remote sensing analysis, and climate observation/modeling, and to thus create a comprehensive and practical science, dubbed “Satellite Ecology.”

This program aims to establish a research and education center for the comprehensive understanding of ecological behavior of ecosystems by integrating ecological research, remote sensing analysis, and climate observation/modeling as a novel field, “Satellite Ecology.”

To achieve this goal, the following conditions are required: (1) To own appropriate fields for observation, (2) To be equipped with both techniques and technologies (Remote sensing and ecological observation technologies) as well as facilities (for example, a CO2 flux/observation tower for forest canopy studies), and (3) To be able to readily validate the analysis.

In this program, we study ecosystems, such as forests / farmlands / rivers / urban areas that form river basins, and attempt to analyze ecological processes and evaluate ecological distributions and functions using remote sensing techniques. Techniques based on Satellite Ecology can contribute to: (1) analyzing satellite information and ecological observation data on the same scale, (2) overcoming time limitations by utilizing satellite remote sensing data taken in the past, and (3) obtaining a comprehensive understanding of a river basin and regional ecosystems, which has been difficult to achieve because such ecosystems often have successively and heterogeneous distribution that have different functions. We aim to establish a research and education system that will contribute to international advancement of this field and generate more universal research results.

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