Международные публикации

Forest secrets: space monitoring of Russian forests classified?
In 2011 space images, recognized by Rosleskhoz (Federal Forestry Agency) as the “state secret” media, will be used for satellite-based monitoringof forest violations in Russia. Experts believe that this will practically bring to suspension in the operation of the system of space monitoring of forest infringements in Russia and will considerably restrict access to satellite imagery of forests to the industry workers, including those who are directly responsible for forest protection from illegal loggings.

In late June FSUE “Roslesinforg” announced the results of the tender for supply of digital space imagery data covering the area of 221.1 million ha via web-portal. Both tender schedule and (first of all) the requirement for the contractor to have three valid licenses (to engage in activities classified as state secret (1); to carry out space activities (2) and cartographic activities (3)) stirred among the public.

Putting aside the requirement to have the licenses on space and cartographic activities, the requirement to have the license to engage in activities regarded as state secrets is more than unreasonable. Satellite images, received from foreign satellites, are used for monitoring forest infringements in Russia. ”Consequently, if the images do contain some state secrets, then the first possessors of such secrets are foreign countries and commercial companies”, - explains Wood.ru.

“The requirement to have three licenses for space monitoring of forests appeared for the first time over the past 5-6 years. This bewilders me not so much as the leader of the company, which has been creating and adjusting a system of space monitoring of Russian forests starting from 2005, but as a person, who is well aware of the data now classified as a matter of “state secret”. When one or another company is moved aside in favor of somebody – is one thing. But when forest violations data are turned into “classified” for no reason at all – this is totally another thing. The data is made not accessible both for average Russian citizens and for local foresters as well”, - says ScanEx RDC Vice-President Olga Gershenzon.

Satellite-based monitoring of Russian forests in 2011: not “thanks to”, but “despite of”?
According to specification of requirements, voiced up by FSUE “Roslesinforg”, the following is a must for space monitoring of Russian forests in 2011:
1. Ensure complete coverage of the territory of local forest divisions amounting to 120.0 million ha with space images of this year. That said, the required spatial resolution is 2m (or better) for 30% of the territory; 2.5m (or better) – for 50% and 5m (or better) – for 20% of the territory.
2. Ensure complete coverage of the territory of local forest divisions amounting to 43.2 million ha with archived (2010) space images at the resolution of 5m (or better).

The imagery period, according to FSUE “Roslesinforg” requirements, falls on the most active imaging season: from May 1 to October 15. However, Roslesinforg announced June 14 as the starting date for tender bids reception from potential contractors on space monitoring of Russian forests. The deadline for bids was set as June 23. Three Russian companies placed their bids for tender: ScanEx Research & Development Center, “Sovzond” company and Northern (Arctic) Federal University, where in the end of 2010 the Space Monitoring Center was opened.

Out of all bidders only “Sovzond” company have the license entitling to engage in activities using information now recognized as “classified”. However, the absence of such a license did not prevent Rosleskhoz from using the data received from ScanEx RDC to create and operate a system of space monitoring of forest funds applying space technologies. Until recently ScanEx RDC has been carrying out satellite-based monitoring of forests in behalf of Rosleskhoz since 2005.


Read full version of article: http://www.scanex.ru/en/publications/pdf/publication112.pdf.

Author: Maxim Belykh

Source: Polit.ru (http://polit.ru/article/2011/07/08/forest/)



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