The World Forestry Congress is taking place this week in Buenos Aires and there’s a great deal of focus on the role of forests to battle climate change as the Copenhagen climate talks approach. The focus is mostly on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) as a mechanism to incentivize developing countries to keep their forest intact. Now the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and partners are making free high-resolution satellite imagery available in order to monitor forests.
The FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment is a system that is coming together to produce comprehensive annual assessments of global forest changes. FAO has teamed with the State University of South Dakota, the U.S. Geological Survey and EU Joint Research Center to make high-resolution satellite data and interpretation tools available to forest nations. The system can offer data for 13,000 locations worldwide and tools that the FAO says will make it easy for governments to get a handle on the status of their forests.
“This system will not cover all information needs for REDD, but the remote sensing approach, together with field verification, will provide forest area changes in a robust and verifiable way – a crucial component for carbon accounting under REDD,” said Mette Wilkie who coordinates the Global Forest Resources Assessment Programme at FAO.