Forest satellite data & mapping project led by Ecometrica Gets $1M from GEF to Conserve Mexico Biodiversity Hotspot

Oct 30, 2015 -- An international project led by sustainability software and data firm Ecometrica and funded by the UK Space Agency's International Partnership Space Programme (IPSP) has helped local organisations in Mexico secure funding of over $1 million from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to support conservation of the El Ocote Biosphere Reserve, an internationally recognised biodiversity hotspot in the state of Chiapas.

The IPSP project is providing new satellite data and mapping technology to local organisations to assist in the monitoring of land use change, fires and forest health. Satellite derived information will be analysed and delivered to local organisations via a network of regional Earth Observation (EO) labs, built on Ecometrica's cloud-based technology.

Project director Elsa Esquivel, of Mexican NGO Ambio, said: “Ecometrica's satellite data and mapping technology is helping to us to identify areas where community activities to promote forest-friendly agriculture are succeeding, or running into problems. Without this our team on the ground cannot continually cover the more than 100,000 hectares of the reserve and the surrounding areas of influence. It will also help us to report on the effectiveness of our actions to the GEF, as part of an ongoing cycle of monitoring, evaluation and learning. We also hope that the satellite data and mapping system will be expanded to other parts of Chiapas to help communities mitigate and adapt to climate change.”

Ambio is leading the El Ocote project and has been working with indigenous communities in and around the Biosphere Reserve for more than seven years. The GEF funding will ensure that Ambio has enough staff to liaise with local farmers over activities that impact on the forest – such as crop burning – and to tackle illegal activities, including logging.

Dr Richard Tipper, executive chairman of Ecometrica, said: “We are delighted that GEF has chosen to back this project and that IPSP's input was a catalyst for that decision. The satellite derived information should help to ensure the intervention is effective and efficient, because it allows conservationists on the ground to know what is happening and to deploy their resources accordingly in the challenging terrain.”

Dr Tipper said the IPSP is a great example of a programme that helps businesses with advanced technologies build relationships in countries that would not normally benefit. Earth observation technologies have great potential to support sustainable forestry, agriculture and natural resource management around the world.

“Through the IPSP we are showing that UK companies have solutions that are relevant to the very real challenges faced by developing and emerging economies,” he said.

Dr Tipper said El Ocote is hopefully the first of several local conservation and development activities in Mexico and Brazil to be assisted by the EO Lab technology.

Distributed by The Communications Business on behalf of Ecometrica and Ambio.

For further information, please contact:

Denise Hannestad
The Communications Business
Tel +44 131 208 1500
Email: Email Contact

About Ecometrica


  • In October 2015 Ecometrica was appointed by the UK Space Agency to co-ordinate a major new international project to set up a network of virtual regional Earth Observation (EO) Labs to develop suitable products for the forest sector.
  • Ecometrica will spearhead the use of satellite data for forest monitoring across the globe. It will initially work with Brazilian space research institute INPE and Mexican research group ECOSUR, as well as several of the UK's leading forest EO researchers and experts.


Ecometrica’s team of recognised experts in sustainability accounting and reporting has been named as one of the world’s top Sustainability and EH&S brands by industry analyst Verdantix. Ecometrica has unrivalled experience in environmental assessments and natural capital accounting, and the Ecometrica Platform brings clarity to environmental and natural resource challenges by combining earth observation data from satellites with local information and business intelligence.

Ecometrica supports all aspects of sustainability planning, operations and reporting by businesses and public organisations. Its sustainability data and software services are available worldwide through offices in Boston, Edinburgh, London and Montreal.

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