The Airborne Hyperspectral Sensing
The airborne hyperspectral sensing facility was established in 2009 with the objective of incorporating advanced technology in the sustainable management of Sarawak forest resources. The department currently operates an AISA Eagle-II sensor that is fitted to a KingAir Beechcraft aircraft. It is capable of deriving 126 spectral channels with an image swath of 1km wide at a flying height of 5000ft above the ground.
The Department's enforcement capacity is further enhanced with the availability of a compact airborne tactical system (CATS). It incorporates the hyperspectral technology on a rotary wing platform (helicopter), which is capable of providing rapid response in aerial surveillance and reconnaissance.
ILD: The illegal logging detection (ILD) tool is a spectral algorithm that is capable of detecting forest openings and clearings created by illegal logging. It outputs both hard copy and digital GPS maps, which guides the enforcement officers to areas where illegal activities were detected from the airborne hyperspectral imagery.
Plantation Mapping: The application of hyperspectral sensing in forest plantation mapping (LPF) is complemented with the development of spectral algorithms for monitoring the planting progress and the health status of the planted trees. The higher information content (spatial and spectral) of the hyperspectral dataset provides improved accuracy for deriving stand parameters such as sapling counts and other canopy attributes (LAI, photosynthetic capacity), which provides pre-visual indicators for the early detection of plant stress.
Forest Composition Mapping: Hyperspectral sensing is suited for mapping the diverse compositions of the tropical forests due to the high sensitivity of its dataset in resolving the differences in biochemical and biophysical properties of the different tree species.
TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS FOR NATURAL RESOURCE ASSESSMENT
Non-Destructive Determination of GAHARU (Agar-Wood)
- Conventional method for detection of Agarwood (Gaharu) in Karas is by slashing the trunk, which eventually leads to cutting down the whole tree. Even with artificially inoculated trees, success rate is still low (< 15%).
- The lack of external signs of Gaharu presence, discourage planting of Karas by local communities fear of losing an investment (planting costs, time, inoculation costs) discourage local communities to plant Karas due to the uncertainty about the presence of the priced oleo-resin in the tree.
- Hyperspectral technology enables a non-destructive approach to determination of Agarwood (Gaharu) presence by only sensing the leaves.
- Package as a tool (Gaharu Detector) which would be used to promote planting of Karas trees among local communities (communal project) rather than harvesting for wild Gaharu in the natural forest.
- This could mitigate depletion of wild Karas trees which are currently categorized as endangered species in IUCN Red List.