Major projects


Support for Central Africa of Earth Observation-driven forest monitoring for REDD

Study sites in REDDiness project (red squares).
Study sites in REDDiness project (red squares).
Project location Congo (Rep. of)
Starting date 01 February 2011
Completion date 31 January 2013
Client European Commission
Partners Eurosense-Belgium, IRD-France, OSFAC-DR Congo,
CNIAF-Republic of Congo, MEF-Gabon
Project leader Dr Anton Vrieling
Project officer Bert Boer
Project type Contract research
Budget Euro 100.000 (total budget Euro 500.000)

REDDiness is a collaborative research project funded under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7 Space) of the European Commission. Its main aim is to strengthen the national forest monitoring centers of the Republic of Congo and Gabon in their efforts to implement a strategy for measuring, reporting and verifying (MRV) forest changes and associated carbon emissions in the framework of REDD+. The focus is particularly on satellite-based monitoring.

ALOS PALSAR image of 30 May 2010 containing the Congo study site (HH=red, HV=green, HH/HV=blue)
ALOS PALSAR image of 30 May 2010 containing the Congo study site (HH=red, HV=green, HH/HV=blue).

The first phase of the project consisted of a detailed analysis of user requirements. A survey was executed among the main agencies involved in REDD+ in both countries. In addition we reviewed existing projects in the region that use satellite data for forest monitoring. The survey results indicated that existing capacity in the countries for processing and analysis of satellite imagery is still very limited. Although several projects in Central Africa addressed deforestation, none of these projects in the countries focused on forest degradation. In relation to REDD+, forest degradation refers to a reduction of carbon stock in forest that remains forest. Forest degradation is more difficult to monitor with satellite data than deforestation: nevertheless, in Central Africa forest degradation is expected to contribute strongly to carbon loss. An additional problem in the region is the persistent cloud cover, which limits the possibilities of acquiring useable optical satellite imagery.

Forest degradation (healthy vegetation in red)
Forest degradation (healthy vegetation in red).

The envisaged outcome is a recommendation regarding possible monitoring options for forest degradation under REDD+. The REDDiness research therefore focuses on combined optical and RADAR satellite-based monitoring of forest degradation, known for its cloud-penetrating capabilities. Optical data at high resolution (Landsat) and very high resolution (QuickBird and WorldView) provide detail during clear-sky conditions whilst under persistent cloud cover we concentrate on multi-temporal synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery from ALOS, ENVISAT, RADARSAT, and TerraSAR at different spatial resolutions. Estimated from the acquired imagery are compared to field observations at two sites (one in Congo, one in Gabon). Research outcome will demonstrate the potential of different satellite imaging systems.

Besides research, REDDiness also has a capacity building component. This consists of training local counterparts in data acquisition in the field, remote sensing theory, and hands-on training with image processing software. More information on the REDDiness project can be found on:

Project meeting in Kinshasa, October 2011
Project meeting in Kinshasa, October 2011.
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