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UN-REDD and INPE Team Up to Train Experts on Satellite Forest Monitoring

The UN-REDD Programme team at FAO and Brazil's Space Agency (INPE) join forces to run a two-week intensive training programme on the use and possible application of remote sensing data for forest monitoring.
By: Inge Jonckheere, UN-REDD-FAO Forestry officer

The first training took place last year at INPE Amazônia in the Training Center (CRA) in Belém, Pará, Brazil, when INPE trained FAO trainers and piloted the course. The second training programme, which started 19 September at INPE's CRA, is targeting country-level technical experts is structured in different phases. Country delegations to the training from Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Vietnam and Papua New Guinea (PNG) include computer science experts as well as GIS forest experts from country government institutions responsible for the implementation of REDD+ and/or national forest inventory.

The first part of the training is based on specific material including hands-on exercises using the Brazilian monitoring projects and data. The second part of the training will focus on the application of forest monitoring techniques and image processing in their specific country context. The training includes practical exercises using a standardized set of Brazilian satellite data, and a thorough training based on respective country specific data and imagery. The course aims at improving the knowledge on the use of remote sensing (RS), information technology (IT) and modelling aspects of a satellite forest monitoring system. Country specific activities such as the assessment of the historical forest cover changes will be carried out during this training course. The knowledge gained will be valuable to expand monitoring of the entire national territory, which may become relevant for GHG inventories related to Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) or Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU).

INPE's centre in Belém is responsible for the centralized training on the Brazilian monitoring forest systems using TerraAmazon as the Brazilian software platform to support the estimation of the annual rate of deforestation (PRODES), the detection of forest degradation (DEGRAD) , selective logging activities (DETEX) and the “near-real time” monitoring of the forest cover in support of more effective forest control and enforcement activities (DETER). TerraAmazon, developed by INPE integrates geographical information systems ( GIS,) image processing and database management functionalities.

INPE’s technology to support their Amazonia monitoring systems is composed of different operational and complementary projects which are mentioned above: DETER, DEGRAD, DETEX and PRODES. Recently, the project TerraClass has also been developed to monitor the land use of the deforested areas already mapped in PRODES. The Brazilian system is the largest and most robust operating forest monitoring system in the world and has been providing official annual rates of gross deforestation to the Brazilian government since the late 80s. Monthly information on forest cover changes in Amazonia has been provided to the government control and enforcement agency since 2004, allowing early measures to be taken to prevent further non-authorized deforestation activities. As open source products, DETER, DETEX, DEGRAD, PRODES and TerraClass are distributed free of charge, as all available INPE data.

A comparison of forest cover status between different years using the TerraAmazon software.

The training is part of the huge capacity building effort and knowledge transfer of the FAO-led activities of the UN-REDD Programme for developing countries in the REDD+ context.  After these training programmes, the FAO-UN-REDD Programme team will be responsible for the in-country implementation and operationalization of national forest monitoring systems to ensure monitoring systems are adapted to accommodate national circumstances.

Training activities with the country-experts in the intensive training course in Belém.
Credits: Patrick Kondjo

National Forest Monitoring System in the Cancun Agreements
The decision 1/CP.16 of the Cancun Agreements requests developing country Parties aiming to undertake REDD+ activities to develop a robust and transparent national forest monitoring system for the monitoring and reporting of the REDD+ activities. These activities would be undertaken in the context of the provision of adequate and predictable support, including financial resources and technical and technological support to developing country Parties, in accordance with national circumstances and respective capabilities. If appropriate, sub-national monitoring and reporting as an interim measure can be developed, in accordance with national circumstances, and with the provisions contained in decision 4/CP.15, and with any further elaboration of those provisions agreed by the Conference of the Parties. In short, the Cancun Agreement's text reads as follows: "including monitoring and reporting of emissions displacement at the national level, if appropriate, and reporting on how displacement of emissions is being addressed, and on the means to integrate sub-national monitoring systems into a national monitoring system".

The FAO/UN-REDD-INPE training recognizes the provisions of Articles 1 and 4 of Decision 4/CP.15 as well as 1/CP.16 and suggests concrete and effective actions to strengthen developing countries’ technical capacities to monitor their forest land. The training provides the opportunity among REDD+ countries to set up autonomous satellite forest monitoring systems that will be valuable also as a tool to report GHG emissions following the IPCC Guidelines and Guidance.

In that context, FAO/UN-REDD and INPE are also currently supporting the launch of national forest monitoring systems for DRC and PNG. Both countries will launch their national forest monitoring portal in December in Durban at COP17. The portals will allow all end-users to follow and have open access to available forest data, updated frequently to represent national forest conditions. The use of remote sensing data allows a high frequency of data availability as well as the possibility for wall-to-wall monitoring of the forests in the countries. The use of National Forest Inventory data will complete the remote sensing data in order to fulfil the reporting requirements of the UNFCCC.
A highly specialized technical team in FAO, together with Geosolutions and INPE, is supporting DRC and PNG in the set-up of such a data analysis and web-based dissemination system.

The ultimate goal of all these joint effort is to build up the autonomous capacity of REDD+ countries to monitor their forest-related land cover, generating annual data on deforestation, forest degradation and forest conversions. This will allow each country to produce national and sub-national forest related change matrices, at the level of each land use change subcategory that will provide activity data on changes in the use of land in units of area per year.


Inge Jonckheere is a Forestry officer at FAO for the UN-REDD programme, and is leading the technical collaboration of FAO/UN-REDD with INPE for the capacity building.











In this issue


Mongolia Begins its REDD+ Roadmap Process

Encouraging Signs for the REDD+ Process in Republic of Congo

UN-REDD Launches New REDD+ Capacity Building Studies for Asia and Africa

New Study Examines the Role of Local Governance Institutions in Tackling Corruption Risks in REDD+ in Latin America and the Caribbean
Features & Commentary

UN-REDD and INPE Team Up to Train Experts on Satellite Forest Monitoring
By: Inge Jonckheere
Reports & Analysis

UN-REDD-FAO Releases Report from Training Workshop on National Systems for Greenhouse Gas Inventories
Looking ahead

UNFCCC Climate Change Conference
1-7 October, 2011: Panama City, Panama

Oslo Governance Forum
3-5 October, 2011: Oslo, Norway

High-Level Forum on Forests and Climate Change
10-11 October, 2011: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Seventh UN-REDD Programme Policy Board Meeting
13-14 October, 2011: Berlin, Germany

FCPF Participants Committee Meeting
17-19 October, 2011: Berlin, Germany

Corruption and REDD+ in Asia-Pacific: Awareness-Raising Event
20-21 October, 2011: Bangkok, Thailand
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