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Tropical Forest Monitoring


In support to the EU’s fight against global warming, the aim of IFORCE (International Forest Resources and Carbon Emissions) is to develop methods to benchmark the monitoring of forest resources and carbon emissions, with a focus on tropical regions. Assessments are carried out to gain an improved understanding of how forest resources can meet the competing demands for economic and ecological services, especially when confronted with increasing threats, such as climate change. Monitoring, reporting and verification of forestry emissions are essential requirements for achieving the objectives of the UNFCCC Paris agreement (Dec. 2015), but also for the participation of tropical countries in the REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) mechanism.

More specifically, IFORCE aims at further developing and validating reference methods for the assessment of forest cover change in tropical regions from Earth Observation data, in relation and with support to the Copernicus program. Main emphasis is put on the assessment of forest degradation and forest regrowth processes, in collaboration with international (FAO, CIFOR) and national partners in the tropics (national forest inventory or REDD+ services). New analysis modules are developed to facilitate the estimation of carbon emissions from disturbance in tropical forest cover.

IFORCE is / has been implementing the following projects:

REDDCopernicus project

The project Capacity for Copernicus REDD+ and Forest Monitoring Services has been launched in early 2019 under the EU Research and Innovation program 'Horizon 2020 (H2020)'. The project is implemented by a consortium of five European partners (GAF AG, WU, JRC, SIRS, VTT), ultimately aiming at the definition of an end-to-end operational system for Core and Downstream REDD+ Services (organizational & technical specifications), providing products and services available via the Copernicus Data & Information Access Services (C-DIAS) Platform.

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ReCaREDD project

The lead objective of the ReCaREDD project (Reinforcement of Capacities for REDD+) is to enhance the capacity of institutions in tropical partner countries to report on forest degradation, in a reliable and cost‐efficient manner. This project uses the best available science and knowledge to develop, jointly with partner countries, techniques for forest monitoring and to strengthen national capacities to report on REDD+ challenging activities, such as forest degradation and forest regrowth.

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Tropical forests protect us from climate change and are a haven for biodiversity. Most forest loss, degradation and fragmentation occurs in a “risk zone” around transport networks. Although communities need roads to access markets, hospitals and schools, roads also open up the forest to possible damage. In tropical areas, new road building is often followed by secondary roads being created, often unplanned or illegal, which then trigger further degradation and deforestation. The remoteness of some areas makes it especially hard to monitor and manage this change. The RoadlessForest pilot project aims to provide up-to-date data, to help plan infrastructure wisely and spot possible areas where the forest is in danger.

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