Despite covering 2.7 million square kilometres and representing a globally important carbon stock, Africa’s tropical dry forests are subject to some of the highest rates of deforestation and degradation in the world. These ecosystems are particularly at risk due to their fragility, as well as the high and increasing demand for forest goods and services, which are required to support the livelihoods of the populations who depend on them. Despite their importance, little is known about dry forests, and they are often not covered by inventories and management planning.
Recent major breakthroughs in satellite Earth Observation (EO) data provision provide unprecedented views of the Earth and present an opportunity to address existing limitations in forest monitoring capabilities. In 2014 and 2015, the European Space Agency (ESA) launched two satellite missions – Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 – to improve monitoring the global environment. Both satellites are revolutionary in terms of wide coverage, high spatial resolution, and frequent repeat coverage. Similar to the Landsat-8 mission, data collected by the Sentinel satellites are provided through an open access policy. These missions and open access policies have dramatically increased available data on global forests.
This session delves deep into the new and innovative tools developed by the Satellite Monitoring for Forest Management (SMFM) project by the World Bank in 2017–2020. The SMFM project developed tools to allow forest practitioners to use these new satellite resources for forest cover and biomass assessment, dense time-series change analysis and analyzing the drivers of forest change.