NASA, partner space agencies measure forests in Gabon

by — 2016-02-26 16:09:09

A contingent of NASA airborne instruments and scientists on the ground has joined colleagues from space agencies in Gabon and Europe this month to study the dense African tropical forests in Gabon.

Gabon, a Central African country slightly smaller than the state of Colorado, is home to one of the most pristine rainforests on the planet. During the two-week-long NASA campaign, a collaboration with a European Space Agency (ESA) mission called AfriSAR, researchers are collecting measurements of plant mass, distribution of trees, shrubs and ground cover, and diversity of plant and animal species-not only from Gabon's rainforest but also from the country's wetlands, mangrove forests and savanna. ESA launched the first part of the AfriSAR field campaign in Gabon in July 2015, when teams led by the French national aerospace research center collected radar and field measurements of the country's forests. Now NASA and the German space agency have joined the second leg of the campaign.