MSc thesis subject: Forest change in Son La province, Vietnam: Monitoring the effect of a PFES program with dense satellite time-series approaches.

Vietnam is the first country in Southeast Asia to initiate a nationwide payment for forest environmental services (PFES) scheme. The objectives of PFES include the improvement of forest quality and quantity, an increase in the forestry sector’s contribution to the national economy, a reduction of the state’s financial burden for forest protection and management, and improvement of social well-being. Son La province implemented the PFES program in 2009.

There is a lack of reliable and adequate data on the actual impacts of the PFES program both on environmental and livelihoods improvements. In Son La province, our research partners started a pilot project for the Vietnamese government to develop and test an M & E (Monitoring & evaluation) system. Wageningen University has been asked to look into forest changes such as forest loss, gain and degradation/regrowth to support the development of this system.

Dense time series of satellite imagery (e.g. landsat) can be used to assess forest disturbance and regrowth (BFAST, STEF)


  • Asses forest changes (distubance and regrowth) in Son La province, Vietnam
  • Assess impact of PFES program on forest in Son La province, Vietnam



  • Preference for students who are willing and able to work with R

Theme(s): Sensing & measuring, Integrated Land Monitoring