National Forest Monitoring

Satellite Land Monitoring Systems (SLMS) & web geoportals

The SLMS team supports and facilitates countries in their development of capacity to implement national and regional Satellite Land Monitoring Systems, which are used to monitor land and forest area and area changes. Data on area and area change are the basis for Activity Data which are a fundamental input to national Greenhouse gas inventories (GHGi), essential for measuring progress towards climate action goals under the Paris Agreement, and other (inter)national reporting commitments. The information and products from the SLMS also support domestic efforts towards improved land and forest monitoring, and therefore improved, more sustainable land and forest management.

SLMS activities include:

  • Support countries in generating, using and improving maps and land/forest cover statistics,
  • Support countries in generating activity data for reporting to international climate frameworks,
  • Conceptualize and disseminate geospatial data,
  • Capacity building on technical issues,
  • Tailor-made technical support,
  •  Conceptualization, development and deployment of web geoportals.

Key facts

  • FAO’s work on SLMS over the last decade has triggered the development of user-friendly land and forest monitoring methods that are easily applied in developing countries (e.g. data accuracy assessment of maps, development of the cloud-based processing platform of SEPAL, satellite data processing modules, and other Open Foris modules).
  • In the last ten years, the SLMS team has assisted over 50 developing countries in generating, analysing and improving the national activity data for national use, international reporting, and to improve their forest management.
  • Almost 10 years of joint FAO-INPE (Brazilian National Institute for Space Research) trainings in tropical forest monitoring have resulted in the training of over 500 technicians in 20 countries.
  • Over 30 geospatial platforms officially launched, 5 beta versions ready to be launched or in preparation with very strong country involvement. This work is also the basis for the land/forest data for the FAO Hand in Hand initiative


GIZ, ESA, USAID, JICA, GCF, GEF, UNFCCC, World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (WB FCPF), Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI), Australian Government, United States SilvaCarbon Program, GOFC-GOLD Land Cover Office, GEO, GEOGLAM, Wageningen University (WU), Boston University (BU), INPE,WRI, VITO, Google.