Integrated monitoring for estimating GHG emissions from forests and agriculture in tropical countries

This project explored land-use changes from forests to agriculture, and the emissions from these changes over time using a data-driven approach in the tropics. This was the main focus of the PhD thesis by Sarah Carter entitled “Deforestation and agriculture in the tropics: carbon emissions and options for mitigation”, which was undertaken as part of the CIFOR Global Comparative Study on REDD+.

Thesis defence: 21 March 2018.

In this thesis, emissions from agriculture-driven deforestation are quantified, and specifically explore the role of remote sensing data in this process. Several available datasets are utilized, and their reliability and usefulness for this purpose is also evaluated. Following on from this, mitigation options are assessed, and the mitigation potential of forest-sparing interventions is quantified. Thereafter, the impact of LSLA are explored, as a potential driver of deforestation. The relationship between LSLA and REDD+ is explored in order to identify synergies and conflicts between the two. The need for, and methods to integrate the agriculture and forest sectors and their approaches to reducing emissions from agriculture-driven deforestation are then discussed. Finally, the implications of the work, and next steps for the future are proposed.

Three research questions are addressed:

  1. What are the emissions and their uncertainties of agriculture-driven deforestation in the tropics?
  2. In which countries can forest-land sparing interventions be best introduced to mitigate these emissions?
  3. How can interventions in both the forest and agricultural sectors be better integrated to achieve emissions reductions?