There’s great hope among policy makers, conservationists and scientists that the UN and World Bank-backed mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) will bring funds to tropical countries and preserve rainforests while helping the local populations dig out of poverty. A barrier to this initiative to date has been the lack of maps and forestry assessments in order to set a baseline for deforestation rates.
Now the Advanced Land Observation Satellite (ALOS) from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) is poised to help, with three sensors: an optical sensor, a multi-spectral sensor with visible and infrared bands; a stereo mapper for generation of high resolution elevation models and topographic information. This new sensor is able to cut through the ever-present clouds in rainforests to assess forest cover and establish a baseline for REDD.
Read more, including an interview with Josef Kellndorfer, in a story on Mongabay.