Edinburgh-based forest-mapping firm lands £14m UK Space Agency contract

 Egmont Park, New Zealand, photographed from space
Egmont Park, New Zealand, photographed from space

A company which is co-located in Edinburgh has won a contract worth more than £14 million from the UK Space Agency to help countries to improve the management and protection across 300 million hectares of tropical forests – 12 times the size of the United Kingdom.

As part of the project, Ecometrica will sub-contract experts from the University of Edinburgh and Carbomap, a specialist in LiDAR forest mapping and spin-out from Edinburgh University.

The Ecometrica Platform combines earth observation data from satellites with local information and business intelligence to bring clarity to environmental and natural resource challenges facing corporates and governments alike.

It helps businesses to easily track and map their impact on natural capital assets, like forests and water, tracking supply chain activity, verifying sustainable product sourcing, and environmental reporting to established sustainability frameworks.

The project will also see Ecometrica bring together various partners in Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya and Mexico, where Earth Observation laboratories will be set up to assess threats to rainforests and help direct conservation resources.

The ‘Forests 2020’ project with the Space Agency follows a highly competitive tender process and is a significant win for Ecometrica, which reported sales of £2.77 million in its last financial year. The project is due to complete in March 2020.

Dr Richard Tipper, Nobel Laureate and Executive Chairman of Ecometrica, said: “Working with several organisations in each of the six countries, including research institutions, NGOs and conservationists on the ground, this project will help improve the capacity to implement effective forest and ecosystem monitoring services.

“It’s estimated that improved monitoring systems, which enable a more targeted approach, could help prevent the loss of four to six million hectares of forest over the next decade – that’s an area more than half the size of Scotland, or two to three times the size of Wales.”

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