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REDD Web Platform: Remote Sensing
Information submitted on remote sensing

pdf-icon GFOI Methods and Guidance Document (2500 kB)

This document contains advice on how to use remotely sensed and ground based data in combination to estimate greenhouse gas emissions and removals associated with REDD+ activities, consistent with Decisions of the COP and guidance from IPCC.


Summary Report and Presentations from an international dialogue on Satellite data and monitoring systems for REDD+

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) organized a professional workshop on satellite data and methods for deforestation and forest degradation monitoring on 5 October 2012 in Bonn, Germany. This event was preceded by a technical side event on 4 October 2012 organized by DLR. Experts from science, satellite data and service providers such as RapidEye and Astrium as well as international institutions such as the French AFD, FAO, World Bank and WWF participated in the event. A series of lectures gave an overview of available data and methods for satellite-based monitoring systems. Working groups discussed accuracy, availability, usability, cost, etc. and shared their experiences and best practices. 

Further information, including the programme, presentations and a summary report.

FRA 2010

Global Forest Resources Assessment, Global Remote Sensing Survey
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and its member countries and partners will conduct a global remote sensing survey of forests. This is part of the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010 (FRA 2010). pdf-icon Brochure. (293 kB)

Link to the FAO organization website on the REDD Web Platform

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) USGS has a record of partnerships with developing countries studying land use, resource management, and climate related issues. The international science team at the USGS' Earth Resources Observation and Science Center (EROS) has cooperative projects with developing countries, using satellite based data to monitor the changes to land cover features. Additionally, the North American Node of UNEP GRID, located at the USGS EROS Center, is in the forefront of applying information technology tools such as remote sensing, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and web mapping to address the relationships between the environment and human populations. Utilizing the expert knowledge of staff and visiting scientists, the information created with these tools provide policy-makers a scientific basis for making decisions.

USGS is also releasing satellite data at no cost.  By the end of 2008 the entire archive of data collected from the Landsat series, as far back as 1972 and current daily new acquisitions, will be available over the Internet.  This release will make land observation data available to a global science community for monitoring land surface changes over a multi-decade period. 

Landsat scenes can be previewed and downloaded using the USGS Global Visualization Viewer at or through Earth Explorer at

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

NASA’s Land-cover and Land-Use Change (LCLUC) program within its Earth Science Enterprise seeks to further the scientific understanding of the consequences of land-cover and land-use change for continued provision of ecological goods and services, the carbon and water cycles and the management of natural resources.  It uses NASA’s remote sensing technology to monitor global land cover change and improve understanding of human interaction with the environment, and thus provide a scientific foundation for sustainability, vulnerability and resilience of land systems and their use.

NASA LCLUC is also involved in a joint initiative with the US Geological Survey (USGS), called the “Global Land Survey” (GLS).  Moderate resolution (c. 30m) data are useful for monitoring forest change, but the cost of using such data has been prohibitively high for some resources managers and scientists working in tropical forest countries.  GLS will make freely available a global time-series of moderate resolution satellite data, preprocessed to be directly comparable between dates (orthorectified) for studying forest and land cover change.  Currently NASA and USGS are generating a data set for c. 2005, which will complement previous global data sets for 1980, 1990, and 2000.  The plan for the 2010 data set is to develop this into an international initiative in the framework of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), by including data from various international satellites of similar resolution.  Partnerships are currently being sought for this international collaboration.

NASA LCLUC also supports several large regional science campaigns and programs, including the Large Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia, the Central African Regional Program for the Environment, the Northern Eurasian Earth Science Partnership Initiative, and the Monsoon Asia Integrated Regional Study.  LCLUC is also a contributor to the international Global Observation of Forest and Land Cover Dynamics (GOFC-GOLD) program, a project of the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS).

Link to NASA's LULUCF program

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