Milestone in global forest monitoring from space achieved

Milestone in global forest monitoring from space achieved

Global coverage of forests through Sentinel-2A mission

US: Deforestation, depletion in forest covers and continuous ecological degradation, as a result, is the 2nd biggest source of carbon emissions globally. It must be significantly reduced if global climate targets are to be achieved. Complete forest cover data is very important for countries to be able to report on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, in accordance with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Comprehensive forest data is now available for all countries, due to the open data policies and collaboration of a variety of national space agencies and coordinating bodies. This progress in satellite coverage was coordinated by the Group on Earth Observations through its space arm, the Committee on Earth Obsservation Satellite (CEOS), and through the flagship Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI).

The satellite data underpinning this effort comes primarily from the United States Landsat series (USGS), and the European Union Copernicus Programme Sentinel-1 radar series and optical Sentinel-2 series (EU/ESA).

Additional contributions are provided by Japan (JAXA), Brazil (INPE), China (CRESDA), France (CNES), Italy (ASI), Canada (CSA), and Germany (DLR). Further datasets are anticipated next year from the space agencies of the UK (NovaSAR mission) and Argentina (SAOCOM mission).

Global coverage of forests through this collaboration will continue from 2017 until at least 2030. It will permit countries to confidently use satellite data in their national forest monitoring and reporting systems.