MSc thesis topics: Assess forest degradation in one of the deforestation fronts (Amazon, Mekong, Central Africa or Indonesia) using remote sensing.

Deforestation and forest degradation continue to be critical topics in the global environmental, biodiversity conservation and climate change agendas. In spite of many commitments, forest continue to be degraded and lost at an alarming rate.

There is a need for greater emphasis on forest degradation, and its interaction with deforestation. Forest degradation is in some ways as important as complete forest loss, but is hardly recognised by policy makers or civil society. Forest degradation is a gradual subtle process, often over large areas, which makes it much harder to quantify and monitor than deforestation. There is need to assess the state and the trends of forest quality. Global datasets and remote sensing can be useful to asses forest degradation.


  • Identify likely hotspots of forest degradation
  • Determine the appropriate forest quality indicators
  • Asses the state, and if possible the trends, of forest quality, and identify how different aspects of forest quality change over time (e.g. forest cover, carbon stock, ecosystem) using global datasets, remote sensing data and methods

Literature / links

  • Langner, A., Miettinen, J., Kukkonen, M., Vancutsem, C., Simonetti, D., Vieilledent, G., Verhegghen, A., Gallego, J. and Stibig, H.J., 2018. Towards operational monitoring of forest canopy disturbance in evergreen rain forests: A test case in continental Southeast Asia. Remote Sensing, 10(4), p.544.
  • Mitchell, A.L., Rosenqvist, A. and Mora, B., 2017. Current remote sensing approaches to monitoring forest degradation in support of countries measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) systems for REDD+. Carbon balance and management, 12(1), p.9.

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