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Constraints on the uptake of free Landsat data in African countries

Discussions were held at an African Landsat data initiative meeting May 2009 at the USGS Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) and the Geographic Information Science Center of Excellence at South Dakota State University. The meeting was attended by African remote sensing experts from Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, and Sudan, who represent different GOFC-GOLD networks, including the Southern Africa Fire Network (SAFNet), the Miombo Network, Observatoire Satellital des Forêts d'Afrique Centrale (OSFAC), and the West Africa Regional Network (WARN) ( One outcome of the meeting was a publication in Remote Sensing Letters, which is a Rapid Communication Series of the International Journal of Remote Sensing. The letter highlighted that the recent landmark decision to allow free access to the Landsat archive via the internet has failed to impact Africa sufficiently because of poor internet connections. The letter has been commented on in the media.

The Remote Sensing Letter article is available at: informaworld

Contact: David Roy

OSFAC Regional Network Co-Sponsors Regional Workshop on Monitoring Carbon Stocks and Fluxes in the Congo Basin

The Central Africa Forest Commission (COMIFAC), as the regional coordination group for the sustainable forest management in Central Africa, sponsored a Regional Workshop on Monitoring Carbon Stocks and Fluxes in the Congo Basin from 2-4 February 2010 at Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. The workshop was co-sponsored by the Satellite Observatory for the Forests of Central Africa (OSFAC), which is a GOFC GOLD Regional Network in Central Africa.

As a result of the inclusion of REDD in climate change treaty negotiations, the monitoring of the forests of the Congo Basin is the subject of more intense interest. The goal of the workshop was to assess the status and capacity for forest monitoring and to identify the principal technical issues associated with carbon monitoring in the region. Objectives of the workshop were to:

  • Provide an overview of current land cover, land use and carbon monitoring activities in the Congo Basin, including both field based and remote sensing projects;
  • Assess current capacities for land cover, land use and carbon monitoring at the regional and national levels;
  • Establish scientific and technical guidelines for successful carbon monitoring in the Congo Basin;
  • Identify current satellite data needs for Congo Basin land cover and carbon monitoring including data acquisition, data access and data dissemination, and develop a strategy to meet these needs;
  • Identify a mechanism to inform COMIFAC and national governments on the technical issues associated with carbon monitoring, particularly in the context of REDD.
The workshop report is posted in the GOFC-GOLD Report Series as report no. 44.

Contact: Michael Brady

GOFC-GOLD Fire Implementation Team Workshop, Frascati, Italy, March 23-25th, 2010

GOFC-GOLD Fire Implementation Team (IT) convened a workshop from 23-25th March, 2010 to review the state of fire science/applications and the associated observations. The workshop focused on identifying the priorities and next steps for the GOFC-GOLD Fire program. The meeting was hosted by the ESA, ESRIN at Frascati, Italy. Financial support was provided by ESA, the GOFC-GOLD Fire IT office through NASA funds, the GOFC-GOLD Secretariat, CSA/Canadian Forest Service/Natural Resources Canada, NASA supported START funds and the host institutions of the Members. The workshop brought together over 40 participants including university researchers, representatives from FAO, and other relevant international, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations. The workshop identified priorities and next steps for GOFC Fire IT to address the growing challenge of fire-related disasters. These include:

  • Developing a suite of global validation protocols for fire products and implement them in diverse ecosystems and scales.
  • Improve global fire-danger early warning and risk assessment through improved global fuel-type-map, fuel-condition and biomass products;
  • Focusing on regional network issues, capacity building activities, data accessibility to end-users.
  • Generating long-time-series fire products;
  • Global pyrogenic emissions estimation;
  • Facilitating user outreach and feedback including GOFC sourcebook activities;
  • Coordinate building the Global Geostationary Fire Monitoring Network.
  • Clarify and address the data requirements for global fire-related Essential Climate Variables (ECV) products; and
  • Providing technical support for new fire related missions and products.
In overall, the workshop provided a valuable opportunity in bringing Fire researchers together.

Contact: Chris Justice or Krishna Prasad Vadrevu

International Workshop on Forest Monitoring in Support of Sustainable Forest Management in the Asia-Pacific Region

The Asia-Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation (APFNet) is a regional organization established at the 15th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in September 2007 in Sydney, Australia. It aims at promoting sustainable forest management and rehabilitation in the Asia-Pacific region through capacity-building, information-sharing, regional policy dialogues and pilot projects.

The APFNet supports APEC's aspirations of increasing forest cover in the region. To achieve this goal and to demonstrate sustainable forest management across the region, national forest monitoring systems are required that include harmonized approaches and outputs. In order to further develop forest monitoring, APFNet co-organized the International Workshop on Forest Monitoring in support of Sustainable Forest Management in Asia-Pacific Region, 29-30 April 2010 at Beijing, China. Co-organizers included the Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF) and GOFC-GOLD.

Involving the sub-regional Mekong countries and Indonesia and Malaysia which are rich in forest resources, the workshop included forest managers and technical experts on forest monitoring. Workshop goals were to understand the current challenges facing forest monitoring and sustainable management in various countries, and to identify potential fields for future collaboration and information sharing, as well as the organizational arrangements needed for a regional network.

Find workshop information and report.

Contact: Michael Brady

GOFC-GOLD REDD Sourcebook Workshop generates update for COP 16

As a contribution to the UNFCCC process for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), GOFC-GOLD produced the "Sourcebook of methods and procedures for monitoring and reporting anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and removals caused by deforestation, gains and losses of carbon stocks in forests remaining forests, and forestation". Its purpose is to provide further explanation, clarification, and methodologies in addition to IPCC Guidelines for reporting changes in forest carbon stocks at the national level, and to support REDD early actions and readiness mechanisms for building national monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) systems. Since 2006, thirty-six international experts have contributed to four versions of the Sourcebook.

To respond to the COP 15 outcomes at Copenhagen, the GOFC-GOLD REDD working group held the 4th Sourcebook workshop from 5-9 July 2010 at the Pacific Forestry Centre, Victoria, Canada. Fifty participants from 17 countries attended the workshop. The objectives included:

  • reviewing UNFCCC-related developments and evolving requirements for monitoring forest carbon changes in developing countries;
  • synthesizing recent contributions of GOFC-GOLD to related international activities and processes (UNFCCC-SBSTA and IPCC, national and regional activities, UN-REDD, GEO Forest Carbon Tracking, etc.); and
  • developing an action plan for Sourcebook updating with topics a and b, and from national level user experiences with earlier versions of the Sourcebook.

The updated Sourcebook was presented at the UNFCCC COP 16 (

Contact: Martin Herold or Michael Brady

Mexico hosts annual meeting of the REDLATIF Latin American Remote Sensing and Fire Monitoring Network

The annual REDLATIF meeting took place at Guanajuato, México from 9-11 November 2010, and included 24 participants from across Latin America. The meeting objectives were to: i) provide information about recent GOFC-GOLD meetings of the Fire Implementation Team Workshop, and the 4th GOFC - GOLD REDD Sourcebook Development Workshop; ii) Integrate participants of the Global Wildland Fire Network (GWFN) into REDLATIF; iii) Analyze the participation of REDLATIF in GOFC-GOLD validation activities; and iv) Define future directions for REDLATIF. The meeting included members of the Latin American Society of Remote Sensing - Red Latinoamericana de Seguimiento y Estudio de los Recursos Naturales (SERENA).

The meeting report and further information on REDLATIF can be found at:

Contact: Maria Isabel Cruz Lopez


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