RePlant Alfa: Integrating Google Earth Engine and R Coding to Support the Identification of Priority Areas for Ecological Restoration
Land degradation and climate change are among the main threats to the sustainability of ecosystems worldwide. As a result, the restoration of degraded landscapes is essential to maintaining the functionality of ecosystems, especially those with greater social, economic, and environmental vulnerability. Nevertheless, policymakers are frequently challenged by deciding where to prioritize restoration actions, which usually includes dealing with multiple and complex needs under an always limited budget. If these decisions are not taken based on proper data and processes, restoration implementation can easily fail. In order to help decision-makers take informed decisions on where to implement restoration activities, we have developed a semiautomatic geospatial platform to prioritize areas for restoration activities based on ecological, social, and economic variables. This platform takes advantage of the potential to integrate R coding, Google Earth Engine cloud computing, and GIS visualization services to generate an interactive geospatial decision-maker tool for restoration. Here, we present a prototype version called "RePlant alpha", which was tested with data from the Central Zone of Chile. This exercise proved that integrating R and GEE was feasible, and that the analysis with at least six indicators for a specific region was also feasible to implement even from a personal computer. Therefore, the use of a virtual machine in the cloud with a large number of indicators over large areas is both possible and practical.
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