Coffee Hour: Mapping Forests and Spirits to Secure a Future for People and Chimpanzees

January 18, 2019
3:30 pm
Refreshments: 319 Walker Building; Lecture: 112 Walker Building

Coffee Hour with Lilian Pintea, Ph.D., Vice President, Conservation Science, the Jane Goodall Institute on Mapping Forests and Spirits to Secure a Future for People and Chimpanzees


 About the talk

There is a growing torrent of geospatial data on ecosystems, species and threats from a variety of remote sensing, GIS, mobile and cloud platforms. However, we need a standard framework for converting these big data into meaningful, useful and actionable information for decision makers. In this presentation I will use more than twenty years of conservation action planning, village land use planning and participatory action research efforts by the Jane Goodall Institute in Tanzania and Uganda, to discuss how geospatial technologies interact with traditional knowledge and local decision making processes to support people livelihoods and protect chimpanzees. This will include a Decision Support System (DSS) developed with the University of Maryland, Esri and NASA to annually monitor and forecast chimpanzee habitat health in Africa. The system integrates 30-meter resolution Landsat satellite data with a habitat suitability model and a model forecasting future land use change, enhanced by crowd-sourced field data collected by local communities and rangers using mobile smartphones and tablets. I will discuss how JGI is using very high resolution imagery from DigitalGlobe satellites and UAVs and talk about Forest Watcher, a new and free mobile app that enables users globally with limited and occasional internet connectivity to access, navigate, ground-truth and report annual and weekly forest loss alerts from Global Forest Watch (GFW) platform. Finally I will present some preliminary results using robotic sensors, Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence algorithms to design monitoring systems that are focused on delivering actionable information targeted to specific decision makers. 

 About the speaker

Lilian Pintea, PhD, is the Vice President of conservation science at the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI). He brings more than twenty five years of experience in using satellite imagery and GIS to the job of conserving chimpanzees and their vanishing habitats in Africa. Lilian works closely with local communities, protected area managers, local governments, and JGI staff in Tanzania, Uganda, DRC, and Congo along with academia and global technology providers such as Esri, Google, Microsoft and DigitalGlobe, to match innovative technologies with local solutions, knowledge and decision making processes and tackle some of the hardest challenges in conservation. Lilian holds a Ph.D. in conservation biology from the University of Minnesota. He is a former MacArthur Scholar of the MacArthur Interdisciplinary Program on Global Change, Sustainability, and Justice at the University of Minnesota and a former Fulbright Scholar at the Center for Remote Sensing at the University of Delaware. With frequent trips to Sub-Saharan Africa, Lilian lives in Silver Spring, Maryland. 


Useful links:


Publications relevant to the talk: 

  • Jantz, S., Pintea, L., Nackoney, J., Hansen, M. 2018. Global forest maps in support of conservation monitoring”. In “Satellite Remote Sensing for Conservation Action: Case Studies from Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecosystems”. Cambridge University Press.
  • Jantz, S., Pintea, L., Nackoney, J., Hansen, M. 2016. Landsat ETM+ and SRTM Data Provide Near Real-Time Monitoring of Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) Habitats in Africa. Remote Sensing. 8, 427.
Angela Rogers - - 8148652493
Coffee Hour Committee