Developing Earth Observation products for monitoring tropical humid and dry forests


GAF AG organized the second EOMonDis User Validation Workshop

Do, 04/11/2019 - 13:37
GAF AG organized the second EOMonDis User Validation Workshop for the Malawian counterparts on 21rd of March 2019 at the company’s facilities in Munich. The main objective of the workshop was to introduce the developments and findings of the second demonstration phase of the EOMonDis project to the Users from the Department of Forestry and Forest Research Institute of Malawi (FRIM), and to get their feedback on the overall utility of the products and their potential for integration into work practices.

During the workshop the concept on time features, algorithm development, thematic processing approaches, validation and quality assurance measures were presented to the Malawian counterparts. Along with, the produced Land-Use/Land Cover, Forest Cover, Forest Degradation Maps and Change information, were also demonstrated and jointly assessed during the workshop.

From this workshop, the Malawian counterparts obtained an overview of the provided products, as well as, offered valuable feedback. There was a valuable discussion concerning the challenges of mapping the dry forest ecosystems with their fragmented and heterogeneous landscape. The Users provided a very positive feedback concerning the EOMonDis product portfolio rating them as of “high quality”. One of them stated the following opinion on the developed services of EOMonDis: “The EOMonDis products are by far an improvement of what is currently available and they will be used to make the REDD+ mechanism robust in Malawi".

The user validation exercise and meeting not only enabled the information exchange of the EOMonDis results for Malawi but also allowed to maintain close ties, between GAF AG and The Forestry Research Institute of Malawi (FRIM) and the Department of Forestry (DoF), on issues concerning the future of Forest Monitoring Services in Malawi.

Workshop on Sentinel-2 data for Activity Data Assessment with ST-REDD and EOMonDis Service Demonstration, Yaoundé, Cameroon 30 November – 1 December 2017.

Fri, 12/22/2017 - 12:27
GAF AG jointly organised a workshop with the REDD Secretariat in Youndé to elaborate the requirements of Activity Data (AD) mapping, which is needed for the forest loss reporting in the REDD+ policy. Furthermore, the Copernicus Sentinel satellite constellation was presented and the use of openly accessible Sentinel-2 data demonstrated. With the high temporal resolution of 5 days, the optical Sentinel-2 satellites are best suited to track deforestation and forest degradation. By a joint use of Sentinel-2 and Landsat data the challenge of heavy cloud cover in tropical regions can be tackled. The workshop entailed a training on the SNAP Software that was specifically designed by the European Space Agency to process and analyse Sentinel data. With fifteen participants from different Institutions a fruitful discussion will lead to further improvements and adaption of the promoted EOMonDis forest monitoring service.

Mr. Nguemadji presenting the Cameroon case in EOMonDis

Dr. Seifert presenting Sentinel Data applications for Gabon

Plenary Session at Side Event

Dr. Siwe Reflecting on Next Steps for Cameroon MRV during the Plenary

UNFCCC COP23 Side Event: Progress in monitoring forest degradation Perspectives from the Sentinels for REDD+: EOMonDis on 9th November 2017

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 12:27
The European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA) jointly organised a Side Event at the COP23 in Bonn on 9th November 2017. The Side Event, “Progress in monitoring forest degradation Perspectives from the Sentinels for REDD+” had the objective to present on-going technical work on the use of Earth Observation (EO) data for assessing deforestation and degradation in 2 specific projects; the EC supported ReCaREDD and EOMonDis. Several developing countries (Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon and Nepal) were able to present recent progresses in the use of satellite data for measuring changes in forest cover which are leading to decrease in carbon stocks within forests. The Side Event also had the objective to raise awareness on the Copernicus Programme, which provides free satellite data of up to 10m spatial resolution globally. The Cameroon case was presented by Mr. Moussa Nguemadji from the national REDD+ Secretariat; he reviewed the current status of REDD+ in the country and highlighted the important developments in terms of developing a national Monitoring Reporting and Verification (MRV) Guideline. In this context the developments in the EOMonDis project will be important contributions to the MRV Guidelines and he acknowledged the European Commission for supporting the project. He then presented the advantages of using the ESA Sentinel data for tropical forest monitoring and how the data is being used with dense time series in the EOMonDis project for overcoming technical challenges in tropical forest monitoring. Results for the Land use and forest cover maps for the 2 test sites were noted as well as the accuracies achieved. The presentation concluded with points on the importance of using national forest datasets in the REDD+ process.

In this Side Event Dr. Frank Martin Seifert from ESA in the context of using Sentinel data for tropical forest monitoring presented results from Gabon and Malawi from the EOMonDis project.

The Side Event was well attended and the Plenary Session included Dr. Rene Colditz from DG Climate, as well as representatives from the different countries. Dr. Rene Siwe from the Cameroon REDD+ Technical Secretariat drew attention to the need for biomass assessments from EO as being important for emissions reductions in the near future. Thus, the technical and development work undertaken in EOMonDis has important ramifications for the national REDD+ processes.


Wed, 11/22/2017 - 11:53
The COP23 held in Bonn, Germany this year provided an important opportunity for EOMonDis to network with countries involved in the REDD+ process from Africa and L. America but also provided a chance to meet and interview representatives from the financing institutes such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Fund (FCPF). The GCF signalled the advent of financing for Results Based Payments (RBP) for countries and outlined the mechanisms for applying for the funding and the requirements that would have to be met. Both the GCF and the World Bank Carbon Fund recognise the limited number of countries ready to apply and implement RBP due to the strenuous technical requirements for emissions assessments that the UNFCCC process has outlined. In this context the EO developments and forest monitoring services that the European EO industry can offer will support countries to bridge the technical gap till national capacities are fully developed.

See: http://www.greenclimate.fund/-/gcf-redd-pilot-pushes-paris-momentum-according-to-cop23-side-event?inheritRedirect=true&redirect=%2Fwhat-we-do%2Fnewsroom%2Fnews-stories

Representation of Deforestation with Sentinel-1 data Gabon 2015-2017

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 15:53
The animation shows the development of a deforestation site in Gabon between December 2015 and August 2017. This tropical region is almost constantly covered by clouds and therefore clear optical imagery is difficult to acquire. Thus, Sentinel-1 satellite radar data from ESA are a good source of information for near real-time monitoring of forest changes. The Sentinel-1 backscatter data in HH and HV-polarisation are displayed as false colour RGB images with the respective acquisition dates. In these images, non-forest areas like in the western corner typically appear smoother and darker than forest areas. The deforestation advancing from southwest to northeast is preceded by the growth of logging roads that is visible as well. The last slide shows a synthetic RGB image of temporal statistics over time. It is very well depicting the new deforestation areas in bright pink colour. Press F5 for replay.

The optical imagery of Sentinel-2 from April 2017 partially covered by clouds and cloud shadows in the east shows again the deforested area.

EOMonDis presentation at MultiTemp2017 conference in Bruges, Belgium, 27 – 29 June, 2017

Mo, 04/09/2017 - 14:00
Dr. M. Hirschmugl presented the EOMonDis project at the MultiTemp conference in Bruges to the scientific community in the area of multitemporal remote sensing data analysis. One of the objectives of the EOMonDis project is to develop and improve information for land use and forestry from currently available satellite sensors. The achievements done in the first phase were presented and discussed to ensure the international acceptance of the developed and proposed methods. The focus of the presentation was on the combined use of optical and SAR sensor data for forest disturbance mapping in Peru. Aside from the presentation itself, there was a lively exchange of knowledge with regards to new developments in the area of multitemporal forest and land cover monitoring, which gave an important input to the EOMonDis project in terms of algorithm take-up and comparison. Joanneum Research (JR) will consider some promising developments for the inclusion in operational processing lines. The scientific paper and the given presentation are available online (https://multitemp2017.vito.be/presentations).

Testing EOMonDis Service Platform and Accessing Sentinel-Data Programme with DoF/FRIM: Lilongwe, Malawi, 16-18 May 2017

Mo, 19/06/2017 - 14:00
During the week of 15th of May GAF AG provided a Training/Testing of the EOMonDis Service Platform to the Department of Forestry (DoF) and Forest Research Institute of Malawi (FRIM) who are the main counterparts for EOMondis in Malawi. The introduction to the EOMonDis Service Platform, forest products and their utility was in the form of a short training programme. The training also included a demonstration of the new Sentinel-2 data and its use for mapping tropical dry forests in Africa. Several types of Cloud platforms that provide Sentinel-2 data were presented and tested by the participants. A major obstacle for integrating Earth Observation (EO) data in the daily work of both DoF and FRIM is the limited internet connection available in Malawi and therefore the problematic data transfer rates. These issues were discussed during the training as well as potential short-term measures to overcome these problems; for example a solution would be to provide access to remote processing facilities that can handle the data in place and to limit the volume of data transfer to just the processing results. The training as well as testing of the EOMonDIs Service Platform was well received by the counterparts and further activities are envisaged which includes the provision of the forest products/datasets and their validation by DoF/FRIM.

EOMonDis presentations at ISRSE in Pretoria, South Africa 8-12 May 2017

Mo, 19/06/2017 - 13:52
Four presentations from EOMonDis Consortium Members were accepted for oral presentation at the 36th ISRSE conference in Pretoria, S. Africa from 8-12 May 2017. Mr. F. Enssle from GAF AG presented the main objectives of the EOMonDis project and the overall technical design of a National Forest Monitoring Systems (NFMS) that incorporates radar and optical satellite; there was a special focus on the Earth Observation (EO) based products for the REDD+ and Zero Deforestation programmes. He noted that existing processing and analysing methods have to be improved especially for mapping tropical dry forest ecosystems. Tackling these challenges is currently the main objective of EOMonDis.

Dr. S. Mermoz from CESBIO presented the developments in the application of Sentinel-1 data for detecting forest change detection based on Sentinel-1 data. The method is based on analysing multi-temporal C-band radar data to detect differences at the boundary area of new deforestation events. He highlighted the need for combining radar and optical data to put operational forest monitoring system in place. Dr. S. Sannier from SIRS showed current progress in the EOMonDis project on near-real time forest monitoring in Gabon incorporating Senintel-2 and Landsat imagery. Dr. A. Bouvet from CESBIO further presented results from the EOMonDis project on the above-ground biomass mapping, which is based on ALOS-2 L-band radar data. He noted that especially for low biomass forests of up to 100t/ha and with its high spatial resolution of 20m, the product has major advantages compared to other global biomass maps.

The presentations were all well received and the Conference provided an important technical forum for the Consortium members to further discuss technical issues with the international scientific community, on the various challenges related to the method development in EoMonDis.

ISRSE-37 Conference 2017

Fri, 04/04/2017 - 14:49
GAF AG will be present at the 37th International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment (ISRSE-37) in Tshwane, South Africa from 8-12 May 2017. The conference focuses on “Earth Observation for Development and Adaptation to a Changing World”.
More information on the conference is available at: http://isrse37.org/

Presentation illustrating the use of dense time series for deforestation detection: Peru example from EOMonDis

WB Land & Poverty Conference Panel: Dr. T. Haeusler presented (2nd from right) the EOMonDis Project

EOMonDis presentations well received at ESA Word Cover Symposium 14-16 March 2017 and at World Bank Land & Poverty Conference, Washington DC 20-24 March 2017

Fri, 04/04/2017 - 14:49
Dr. T. Haeusler presented at the ESA World Cover Symposium in ESRIN, Frascati on 14 March 2017 the main technical concepts of the deforestation/degradation mapping central to tropical humid and dry forest mapping which is being implemented within the EOMonDis project. In the presentation, he also emphasised that for the UNFCCC REDD+ policy process the importance of the user/stakeholder driven approaches to developing National Forest Monitoring Services and land use monitoring systems in terms of in-country capacity and ownership of the processes. This was emphasized in the context that whilst the global data sets such as the Global Forest Watch datasets have a value in supporting countries in the REDD+ Readiness Phase, the extent of utility is often mis-directed for users in developing countries (especially by the financiers/donors for REDD+). He noted that countries want ownership of not only the spatial data but the processes; this is also important when countries are ready to implement the results-based payments Phase of REDD+.

Dr. T. Haeusler made a presentation on EOMonDis at the World Bank Land & Poverty Conference in Washington, DC on 23 March 2017. As this forum was a wider non-technical audience from the World Bank and the counterpart developing countries the focus of the presentation was aimed more at the application of EO for addressing the policy and user requirements.

Geomatic conference “J-Geo” 2017 in Libreville.

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 12:20
EOMonDis project member SIRS participated to the Geomatic conference “J-Geo” that took place from 8th to 10th of February 2017 in Libreville, Gabon. Under the conference slogan « L’émulation africaine autour des données spatiales : transfert des technologies, appropriation des savoir-faire, renforcement des capacités » the presentations included different topics mainly related to land cover and forestry. Workshops around SAR and Lidar were provided by NASA, Cesbio, DLR and CEOS. Ghana, Benin, Cameroon, Mali, France, USA and Gabon participated actively during the J-Geo. SIRS presented the mapping of Gabon's forest cover based on near real time change detection, highlighting the benefits of the combination of SAR (Sentinel1) and optical data (Landsat and sentinel 2) and the role of the local partner AGEOS (Gabonease Agency of Studies and Earth Observation) to adapt these tools and techniques for forest monitoring in Gabon.

GAF AG will be participating at the ESA WorldCover Conference from 14 – 16 March 2017 at ESRIN in Frascati – Italy.

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 10:12
On Tuesday, 15 March 2017, a presentation with the title National Forest and Land Use Monitoring in African Countries will be given in the session “Responding to User Needs”. GAF AG will be especially focusing on the REDD+ forest monitoring aspects which were investigated under the ESA financed GSE REDD Dry Forest project und being currently further developed within the project “Bringing Earth Observation Services for Monitoring Dynamic Forest Disturbances to the Users (EOMonDis)” of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty 2017

Thur, 02/02/2017 - 09:02
GAF AG will participate in the 18th WB Conference on Land and Poverty taking place in Washington, DC from 20-24 March 2017. The 2017 conference theme will be: Responsible Land Governance: Towards an Evidence-Based Approach. GAF AG submitted a paper entitled „Satellite based monitoring of forest resources compliant with REDD+ and Zero Deforestation“.
More information on the conference is available at: http://www.worldbank.org/en/events/2016/08/22/land-and-poverty-conference-2017-responsible-land-governance-towards-an-evidence-based-approach

EOMonDis successfully presented at ForestSAT 2016

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 13:35
Organisers: Study Center of Natural Resources (OTERRA) & School of Forestry at the Universidad Mayor
Venue: Universidad Mayor, Santiago
Date: 15-18 November 2016

ForestSAT 2016 was the seventh edition of this international scientific conference, which was held in Santiago Chile from the 14th to 18t November 2016. It was jointly organised by the Study Center of Natural Resources (OTERRA) & the School of Forestry at the Universidad Mayor.
The EOMonDis consortium was represented with three different talks, which where held by GAF AG, Joanneum Research Center and SIRS. Joanneum presented results from radiometric calibration of Sentinel-2 and Landsat 8 data. GAF AG presented the overall concept of the EOMonDis project with a focus on dense time series analyses based on various data sources and discussed first results from forest area mapping in a tropical dry forest environment. The talk held by SIRS was focused on the statistical evaluation of area estimates for an improved assessment of map accuracies. A new announcement will be published as soon as the proceedings of this conference are available.

Sentinels for REDD+:
Earth Observation supporting MRV systems

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 10:02
Organisers: European Space Agency; European Commission (Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs)
Venue: EU Pavilion, COP22, Marrakesch
Date: Thursday 10 November 2016

This side event was organized by the European Space Agency to raises awareness of the European Copernicus Programme with its new fleet of satellites – the Sentinels – and their use for REDD+. It aimed to share experiences from several EC and ESA pilot projects demonstrating the use of Earth Observation in MRV systems to implement REDD+, serving needs of developing countries and addresses future European support to national implementations. In this context, Dr. Thomas Haeusler the project Co-ordinator for the H2020 Project “Earth Observation Services for Monitoring Dynamic Forest Disturbances to the Users-EOMonDis” presented the overall objectives and activities of the project. He outlined initially the technical challenges of using satellite data mapping tropical dry and humid forests and the potential for the Sentinel 2 data to address some of the challenges. Especially in the context of the dry forest mapping the use of dense time series which the Sentinel 2 data offers can be used to overcome challenges posed by seasonal changes of tree cover, phenology as well as the sparse overall tree cover. EOMonDis will contribute to the development of operation near real time monitoring of forest disturbances which was noted to be critical for the national REDD+ Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) systems for developing countries.

The presentation was well received and Dr. Haeusler joined the Plenary Session to reply to questions posed by the audience.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 685761.