Remote sensing plays key role in assessing status and change in forest area

© FAO/Roberto Faidutti30 May 2019, Belem – Forestry experts from across Brazil are meeting in Belem this week to develop national capacities to collect data on forest cover and land-use change using satellite images.

The six-day workshop organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Brazilian Forestry Service, and the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Supply, will provide extensive training on the use of the latest remote sensing methods and tools. Participants will learn how to compile statistics on forest area and changes over time as part of the 2020 Global and Regional Forest Resources Assessment Remote Sensing Survey.

“This is an exciting opportunity to work closely with national experts and to use the latest technologies to compile up-to-date and precise information on forests and their changes in the region over time,” said FAO Senior Forestry Officer Anssi Pekkarinen.

The interpretation of high-resolution satellite imagery involves using the open-source Collect Earth platform, a tool developed by FAO and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in partnership with tech giant Google.

Some 40 local experts will spend the week interpreting satellite images to produce accurate and comparable data following an internationally agreed methodology and classification system. The data collected will be used to compile global and regional statistics on forest area and its changes over time. Additionally, the experts will identify the primary causes of deforestation in the region.

The exercise will also enable participants’ ownership to use the applied tools and methodology for specific national purposes.

Brazil is rich in wildlife and forest terrain. According to the 2015 Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA), 59 percent of the country's land area, equal to 494 million hectares, is made up of forests. While Brazil is the second country globally in terms of forest area with 12 percent of the world’s forests located in its territory, it reported to FRA the greatest annual net loss of forest area from 2010 to 2015.  

How does the Global Forest Resources Assessment work?

FAO collects data for the FRA through a global network of officially nominated national correspondents. By combining their knowledge of forest resources in their countries with data from remote sensing and other sources, FAO can provide a global dataset of information on over 60 variables covering all aspects of sustainable forest management. This information can be used to draw up recommendations for governments, civil society and the private sector.

FRA is conducting the Global Remote Sensing Survey to generate independent, robust and consistent regional and global estimates of forest area and its changes over time.


last updated:  Tuesday, June 11, 2019