See Africa's restoration from space: Planet and Justdiggit enable nature-based solutions to re-green the earth

See Africa’s restoration from space: Planet and Justdiggit enable nature-based solutions to re-green the earth

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Planet Labs PBC (NYSE:PL), a leading provider of daily Earth data and information, today announced that Justdiggit, a Dutch nonprofit dedicated to land restoration in sub-Saharan Africa, leverages the high-resolution mission capabilities of SkySat satellites, their near-daily PlanetScope satellite images, and data streams of planetary variables to quantify, assess, and scale their re-greening projects. By leveraging this cutting-edge technology, these two organizations bring scientific credibility and actionable action to nature-based solutions.

Planet offers unique remote sensing information and satellite tasking capabilities through its subscription-based satellite data platform, enabling customers like Justdiggit to gain advanced insight into the changing world we live in. Appropriately named, Justdiggit supports local farmers and herders in Tanzania and Kenya. use accessible tools, such as shovels, to dig bunds – semi-circular shaped pits that help the soil catch rainwater. In areas affected by drought and loss of natural vegetation, the top layer of soil can harden and act as a seal, but by digging through the dry layer, rainwater can drain off and hydrate the parched earth . This ancient practice of regeneration cools the temperature of the region by allowing native grasses and trees to regrow, and this landscape change can be captured by Planet’s satellite imagery. Justdiggit uses mobile technology, data and communication to increase their impact on the African continent and raise global awareness of nature-based solutions.

“Building the future we want will require that we not only live sustainably, but restorativelysaid Andrew Zolli, director of impact at Planet. “The surest path to that is to support culturally relevant and ecologically sound practices with new tools, and that’s exactly what’s happening here. We couldn’t be more proud to see our data, products and services used in this way.”

With 300,000 hectares being re-greened, Justdiggit and its partners have already brought back more than 10 million trees in sub-Saharan Africa. Over the past year, Planet, the European Space Agency (ESA), the University of Leicester and Justdiggit have launched the Restore-IT project, focused on evaluating and quantifying the success of their re-greening initiatives. In this project, Justdiggit used Planet’s PlanetScope and Planetary Variables products to measure the impact of their restoration sites in Tanzania and Kenya.

Through the PlanetScope image scan, captured at 3 meter resolution, Justdiggit received high temporal resolution data from their sites, helping to assess discrete changes over time. Measurements of planetary variables quantified soil water content and soil surface temperature, allowing Justdiggit to assess how many liters of water were retained by the soil, how many degrees the surface cooled and how much vegetation has grown since the bunds were dug. Beyond this project, Justdiggit also loads Planet’s high-resolution SkySat satellites, allowing Justdiggit to visualize the extent of their regreening efforts over time, visualizing landscape change at 50cm resolution.

“The key is to show the long-term, landscape-level impact,” said Sander de Haas, CTO and re-greening expert at Justdiggit, explaining that planetary data was used throughout the design process. restoration – from planning to evaluation – and provided valuable data to communicate comprehensive measures to donors and partners.

“I focus on site selection, trying to identify from remote sensing analysis which sites are suitable for our types of interventions. By having access to SkySat data, we are able to load images from the site. If indeed, it is an interesting site, then we send a team to verify the situation on the ground, collect samples and talk to the community,” continued de Haas. Having established long-term relationships and partnerships in the region, Justdiggit spearheads landscape restoration efforts and community education.

On the ground, herders live with their cattle while wildlife, such as zebras and gazelles, graze on newly grown grasses from the bunds. Planet’s SkySat images capture the extent of landscape re-greening over months, while their planetary variable datasets help assess which regions are succeeding, offering scientific insights for improving future projects.

“Although the impact of our projects is evident if you walk through the tall grass of an area that was previously barren, it is difficult to capture this impact in quantifiable impact measures that people can relate to. Using Planetary Variables, we are able to do just that: show the impact of our projects in tangible numbers such as ‘liters of water retained’, ‘degrees of cooling’ and changes in biomass. another dimension to our impact monitoring.

With this information, Justdiggit is able to further expand this restoration work through grassroots movement. When a farming community is able to see the impact of its work, it then becomes a leader and teacher for the next community, spreading educational roots in the region and developing new programs. “Thanks to the income generated from re-greening, I can now take my children to school,” said Mpachacha Isayta, a pastor living in Kuku, Kenya, who works with Justdiggit.

These datasets and satellite images show the tangible progress these initiatives are having on the landscape of Kenya and Tanzania, and this is just the beginning. As Justdiggit aims to expand its program to millions of farmers, they and their partners are making significant progress in re-greening Africa, supporting sustainable livelihoods and tackling the climate crisis. By working together, these organizations are showing that solutions exist, and you can even see them changing the world from space.

About the planet

Planet is a leading provider of daily satellite imagery and global geospatial solutions. Planet’s mission is to image the world on a daily basis and to make change visible, accessible and achievable. Founded in 2010 by three NASA scientists, Planet designs, builds and operates the largest fleet of Earth observation imaging satellites, capturing more than 30TB of data daily. Planet provides critical data, advanced information and software solutions to more than 800 customers, including the world’s leading agriculture, forestry, intelligence, education and finance companies and government agencies, enabling users to simply and efficiently derive unique value from satellite imagery. Planet is a public benefit corporation listed on the New York Stock Exchange as PL. To learn more, visit and follow us on Twitter.

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