Leicestershire, UK, 16 February 2016 – Aerial mapping company Bluesky is aiding the expansion of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Kenya. Working with Cranfield University, the UK based aerial survey specialist will provide financial and technical support for the project that will use remotely sensed data, such as aerial photography, satellite imagery and 3D height models, to improve water resource management. The project supports reforestation and sustainable agriculture with a long term integrated catchment management approach that can be used in other regions.
The Malindi-Watamu Biosphere Reserve is located on the coast approximately 100 kilometres to the north of Mombasa, Kenya’s second largest city. The region is one of the main recreational centres of Kenya, and local communities benefit from tourist activities with attractions including boat trips, water sports, deep-sea fishing and coral viewing. Originally established as a MAB (Man and the Biosphere programme) reserve in 1979, UNESCO is now proposing to extend the mainly coastal and marine habitats to include the nearby Arabuko-Sokoke Forest as another core zone. The new areas have a variety of uses, including small scale agriculture and agro forestry.
Working with Cranfield University, Bluesky will support a PhD project to study how sediment run-off from the forest catchment area can be controlled to reduce the impact on the ecologically important coral reefs and marine turtle habitats. The project aim is to improve and inform water resource management for ecohydrology in support of a reforestation and sustainable agriculture within the extended Biosphere Reserve.
Andrew Bell, Service Manager and UNESCO Biosphere Co-ordinator, said, “Working with commercial organisations who are at the cutting edge of technology, such as Bluesky, to support PhD quality research for this intergovernmental programme is ground breaking, not only for the Malindi Biosphere Reserve and its local community, but also for other locations and communities and for scientific research.”
The Bluesky Cranfield University study is one of the first confirmed projects under a new fund launched to mark the contribution of a distinguished formed Cranfield water specialist, Professor Sue White. The Sue White Fund for Africa, established with her generous bequest, provides funding to enable students to study for a PhD with Cranfield University in topics related to her research, such as water and sanitation, catchment process and water management.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was founded on the 16th November 1945. UNESCO’s mission is to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information. UNESCO has 195 Members and eight Associate Members. It is governed by the General Conference and the Executive Board. The Secretariat, headed by the Director-General, implements the decisions of these two bodies. The Organization has more than 50 field offices around the world. Its headquarters are located at Place de Fontenoy in Paris, France, in in an outstanding, Modernist building inaugurated in 1958 and recently renovated. Launched in 1971, UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) is an Intergovernmental Scientific Programme that aims to establish a scientific basis for the improvement of relationships between people and their environments. www.unesco.org
About Cranfield University
Cranfield University is an exclusively postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management. Professor White joined Cranfield University in 2002. Throughout her career she was passionate about welfare in Africa. She became the lead hydrologist on a project looking at how the fragile ecosystem in Tanzania could be better managed, and in 2009 was awarded a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to work at Stanford and Texas A&M universities in the US. Cranfield University has been awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its work pioneering improved water services which benefits the quality of lives and livelihoods in the most impoverished parts of the world. Professor White’s research and legacy were a key part of this success. www.cranfield.ac.uk
Bluesky is a UK-based specialist in aerial survey including aerial photography, LiDAR and thermal data using the very latest survey technology, including two UltraCam Eagles and an Orion M300 LiDAR system. An internationally recognised leader with projects extending around the globe, Bluesky is proud to work with prestigious organisations such as Google, the BBC and Government Agencies. Bluesky has unrivalled expertise in the creation of seamless, digital aerial photography and maintains national “off the shelf” coverage of aerial photography, DTM and DSM through an on-going three year update programme. By purchasing a World first sensor for the simultaneous capture of LiDAR, thermal and aerial photography data, Bluesky is in the enviable position of being able to provide customers with unique and cost effective solutions. Bluesky is also leading the way in developing innovative solutions for environmental applications, including the UK’s first National Tree Map (NTM), solar mapping and citywide ‘heat loss’ maps, and is currently developing noise and air quality mapping products. www.bluesky-world.com