MSc thesis subject: Forest monitoring needs for REDD+

Capacities for forest monitoring are increasing, however monitoring tropical forests in order to fulfil the monitoring requirements of international policies such as REDD+ remains difficult.

A number of advances have been made recently - in particular for satellite-based monitoring – with new satellites being launched recently, and new possibilities for big data processing (on cloud computing services for example).

This topic focusses on establishing what the needs are for tropical forest monitoring from the stakeholders who are actively monitoring their forests. These include countries, project developers and businesses who are involved in initiatives such as project or national level REDD+ (voluntary schemes, Worldbank FCPF, the GCF, and the REDD Early Movers, bilateral agreements), sustainable supply chains, and jurisdictional approaches to reducing deforestation among others. The needs include monitoring frequency, what forest related parameters should be monitored, and uncertainty requirements etc. Information is also required on what approaches stakeholders are using to accomplish their goals such as method of monitoring (use of satellite data, products and data processing infrastructures in particular from European services such as Copernicus). Knowledge of the other aspects of activities is required, such as community engagement in monitoring, and transparency.


This work revolves around a stakeholder survey, and depending on the start time of the thesis the candidate may be involved in the development of the survey itself. Otherwise, the candidate will analyse and present the results (in case the survey has already been completed). This is part of a time-sensitive projects so the survey has to be delivered to a specific schedule.

Results will be mapped showing the geographical locations of initiatives based on policy type, and monitoring approaches.

The candidate will, in summary, using the results of the survey, present the current situation on the ground for forest monitoring (what is being monitored, how, why), and also make recommendations for data providers (space agencies, data providers) on data needs.



  • GIS software knowledge (no specific courses are required)

Theme(s): Integrated Land Monitoring