Forest monitoring using satellite imagery has advanced tremendously over the past few decades, to the point that these datasets now inform international policy agreements, notably those associated with emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere from deforestation and other types of land-use change. However, satellite technological advances require time to move towards a state of operational readiness for monitoring and reporting; for example, in the case of forest cover and associated carbon stock (biomass) and their changes through time. In this article, we provide an overview of the current status of forest monitoring using satellites and we explore new technologies that are already revolutionizing the way that forest carbon is measured. In particular, we focus on the capabilities of light detection and ranging (LiDAR), noting the opportunities and also the challenges that arise in moving technologies from those flown on aircraft to earth orbiting satellites. We discuss these capabilities in the context of next-generation earth observation missions and international reporting requirements for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Science(all)