SEPAL Forest and Land Monitoring for Climate Action

PlanetNicfi Kilimanyar

SEPAL’s goals are to support countries in their efforts to halt tropical deforestation and degradation, and to enhance reforestation and restoration by:

  • providing a free, easily accessible, powerful platform for efficient geospatial data access and customized processing;
  • enhancing global capacity to operationally apply high-resolution satellite images to critical forest and land monitoring issues; and 
  • building country capacity in high-resolution satellite imagery applications for critical forest and land monitoring issues in response to domestic policy needs.

The project will directly benefit 64 countries through different capacity-building modalities toward autonomous use of the data for key forest and land monitoring needs. In addition, some countries will receive targeted support and commitment, leading to the institutionalization of data use at the national level, thus strengthening institutional arrangements and linkages to policy formulation, implementation and evaluation through capacity development at the national level.   

SEPAL application in the field
Uganda case study Uganda case study peatlands article 2

Detecting Forest Change from Restoration Activities in Uganda

The FAO and National Forest Authority (NFA) of Uganda used SEPAL to monitor forest restoration activities in selected sites of Central Forest Reserves (CFRs) managed by NFA. FAO and NFA used SEPAL to develop a methodological approach that could be scaled to monitor restoration activities at a landscape level, with the overarching aim of reporting on forest changes and the area of forest gain resulting from the restoration activities implemented by the Ugandan government.



Assessing Land Degradation in Bangladesh

The influx of nearly one million Rohingya refugees and other forcibly displaced peoples from Myanmar since August 2017 has made Cox's Bazar – the southernmost coastal hill district of Bangladesh – home to one of the largest refugee camps in the world. The camp puts significant pressure on the regional landscape due to removal of trees, roots, and cover grass to provide shelter and fuel for this displaced population.



Developing an Innovative Peatlands Monitoring System in Indonesia

Peatlands cover only 3 percent of global land area but store nearly 30 percent of the world’s soil carbon, and may contain twice as much carbon as the world’s forests. Innovative FAO SEPAL satellite data processing modules were designed to produce vegetation-cover change maps and estimates of soil moisture across the peatland landscape, to assess peatland changes and the progress of their restoration impacts. These new products enable estimates of soil moisture over millions of hectares and successfully improved peatland monitoring systems and the project-level estimations for reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.


Forest Restoration Planning in Nepal


SE.PLAN is a key decision support tool for forest restoration planning, available through SEPAL. The Ministry for Forests and Environment in Nepal is using SE.PLAN to generate forest restoration suitability maps that match their priorities while also going into the field to determine the eligibility of the sites.

Watch the presentation at the World Forest Congress SE.PLAN side event (2 May 2022).