Dry forests account for an estimated 27 percent of global forest cover, and provide vital ecosystem services in the form of carbon sequestration, livelihoods generation, soil and water conservation and provision of timber and non-timber forest products. It is estimated that in sub-Saharan Africa alone, some 60 percent of the population depend on dry forests for their livelihoods. However, land conversion, overexploitation and climate change have placed unprecedented pressure on these landscapes, and jeopardized the health and well-being of the communities and biodiversity that depend on them. To combat and better understand the drivers of deforestation and degradation, countries urgently need reliable information on the condition and spatial distribution of dry forests, but traditional data collection methods have proven difficult to deploy in these areas.
Building on recent insights and innovations, this white paper explores emerging solutions and opportunities for improving satellite data processing and use in dryland forest monitoring and management. To complement this essential overview, authors profile a suite of newly developed Earth Observation (EO) data processing tools, developed in collaboration between EO scientists and institutional users in tropical dry forest countries in Southern Africa.
This subject is part of GLF Africa: Restoring Africa’s Drylands.