Desert locust habitat monitoring

Desert locust habitat monitoring

Université catholique de Louvain
Earth and Life Institute - Environmental Sciences (ELI-e)
Geomatics department
Place de l’Université 1
1348 Louvain-la-Neuve

Contact persons

Aurélie Bellavia (admin) –
Inès Moreau (technical) –
Prof. Pierre Defourny in cc


Food security of sixty countries in Northern Africa and Asia is intermittently threatened by Desert Locust. This insect has the ability to form swarms of billions of individuals that damage crops and pastures. The breeding of Desert Locusts requires moist soil for egg laying and hatching as well as green vegetation providing food and shelter. Areas in which vegetation has become green in the past one to two decades are the most important for Desert Locust expansion as they prefer annual vegetation that is becoming green. Discriminating vegetated areas in near real time responds thus to the preventive strategy recommended by FAO to fight Desert Locust, i.e. early warning systems to prevent locust upsurges and the formation of large swarms.

The objective of this activity is to adjust and implement the existing Greenness timer algorithm to PROBA-V 100 m time series. The algorithm is designed to detect from satellite time series the temporary habitat greening of the desert locusts early enough to destroy them before their fast reproduction cycle and their gregarious phase. This algorithm was first designed by UCL for SPOT-VEGETATION and then transferred to MODIS 250 m time series. This processor is operationally applied for desert locust habitat monitoring through the generation of dynamic greenness maps in the context of the FAO Locust Watch System.

The PROBA-V Mission Exploitation Platform (PV-MEP) will allow applying the processing chain on PROBA-V 100 m time series to provide dynamic greenness maps at a much finer scale. This improvement will be especially interesting in fragmented habitat.


Creation of an operational service on the PV-MEP to provide NRT user-friendly dynamic greenness maps

  • every 10 days
  • over the locust recession area
  • based on PROBA-V 100 m time series 

Technical contact person

Inès Moreau
Tel: +32 10 47 88 97