Monitoring tropical forests for REDD+: a comparative assessment

Forests play an important role in the global carbon cycle, as sinks and storage of carbon, and provide a range of other ecosystem services (e.g., water regulation, erosion control).

Over the last decades, tropical deforestation and degradation has become a major source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the atmosphere, responsible for roughly 15 -25% of annual global GHG emissions. Not only does tropical deforestation contribute to GHG emissions, it also destroys an important global carbon sink that is critical in future climate mitigation.

Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), negotiations are in progress to develop a mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and enhancing forest carbon stocks in (sub)tropical non-annex 1 countries (REDD+).

In order for REDD+ activities to be effective, accurate and  robust methodologies to estimate emissions from deforestation and forest degradation are crucial. Therefore, a national monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system is required which follows the international Good Practice Guidelines (GPG) of the intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Remote sensing is commonly considered an essential REDD+ observation tool and in combination with ground measurements it provides an objective, practical and cost-effective solution for developing and maintaining REDD+ MRV systems.  

The general objective of this research is to evaluate the role and options of national forest monitoring for REDD+ in (sub)tropical non-annex I countries, with particular emphasis on remote sensing technologies,  MRV capacities of non-annex I countries, national circumstances and drivers of deforestation and forest degradation.


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