SEPAL Forest and Land Monitoring for Climate Action

SEPAL: a powerful, open-source platform for forest and land monitoring

SEPAL is a freely available, open-source, powerful computing platform...

Operationalizing and institutionalizing innovative technologies for using geospatial data is key to producing accurate, transparent information critical for reversing climate change, reducing deforestation and degradation, and catalysing restoration and conservation. The first phase of SEPAL was successfully carried out from 2016 to 2021 (see evaluation below), implemented by the Forestry Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and financed by an initial contribution from Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI). The second phase – Forest and Land Monitoring for Climate Action – is a four-year project that aims to improve climate change mitigation plans and create better informed land-use policies.   

It is connected to modern geospatial data infrastructures, such as Google Earth Engine (GEE), further driving the generation of high-integrity forest and land-use data that enable countries to attract public and private carbon finance for forest-related climate action. SEPAL caters to specific monitoring and reporting needs through dedicated modules, such as SE.PLAN for spatially explicit forest restoration planning, SE.PAFE for monitoring fires in real-time, and BFAST-GPU for running dense, large-area, time-series analyses. SEPAL is based on the following key principles:

  • inclusiveness;
  • data democratization;
  • focus on results;
  • attention to innovative technologies; and
  • long-term sustainability.

SEPAL contributes to:  

  1. Better Environment of FAO’s Strategic Framework and Priority Areas: “Climate and agri-food systems” and “Biodiversity and Ecosystems”;
  2. Accelerators: Technology, Innovation, and Data;
  3. SDGs 15 Life on Land and 13 Climate Action;
  4. The implementation of the Paris Agreement; and 
  5. The FAO’s Hand in Hand (HiH) Initiative.