Global Forest Survey

Global Drylands Assessment

Drylands map 2014 - According to UNCCD and CBD, click to enlarge

A pilot phase was launched using a multi scale sampling design. The first phase of The Global Drylands Assessment was carried out, evaluating over 200,000 sample plots around the dry regions of the world using Collect Earth. Collect Earth is an innovative web based software that enables land assessment through a customized sampling design and VHR satellite imagery. Around 4,000 plots will be selected for the field campaign during the second phase of the project.

Forest in Drylands

Very little is currently known on the forest distribution and resources in drylands. Quantifying  trees, forest and grassland with remotely sensed data is still considered a challenge for dryland ecosystems where vegetation is sparse with large variation due to seasonality, and trees, shrubs and grasses often co-exist at fine spatial scale.  Furthermore in the global change literature drylands are less studied because they seem to have low rates of biological activity and sparse biota. In previous studies, based on remote sensing, data failed to explain all the driving forces behind drylands because there was not enough information to understand and explain any phenomenon in drylands. The GFS pilot phase endeavour was to test the possibility of covering this knowledge gap in forest attributes in Drylands. 

Drylands training and assessment

The collection and evaluation of data points was made possible thanks to the collaboration of several Universities and Governmental partners. Each assessment was carried out in two phases: Collect Earth training and land data collection, organized into regional groups:

 Southern Africa - La Sapienza University of Rome


 Sahel - Agrhymet, Niger 


Horn Africa - WRI, Ethiopia


 South West America - IADIZA Institute, Argentina


North Africa - General Directorate of Forest, Tunisia

 North America - USDA Forest Service, US


Middle East - General Directorate of Forestry, Turkey


 South East America - INSA Institute, Brazil


 South West Asia - Leeds University, UK


 Europe and Russia - Technical University of Madrid, Spain


Central Asia - Department of Forest and Hunting Inventory, Kyrgyzstan

 Oceania - TERN University of Adelaide, Australia