REDD Monitoring Services with Satellite Earth Observation
The University of Leicester, in collaboration with commercial partners, aims at developing a near-real-time satellite forest monitoring service for a variety of geographical markets. Initial market research has shown Kenya to be one of the countries in Africa hit hardest by deforestation; less than 7% of the land remains under forest cover while the national strategy Vision 2030 is aiming to reach 10% forest coverage within the next 15 years.
Current deforestation is still reducing forest cover further. A reconnaissance visit to Kenya in October 2015 has demonstrated a strong interest for satellite enabled forest monitoring products/services from a variety of stakeholders at a variety of levels, from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, the Ministry for Environment and the Kenyan Forest Service to local Community Forestry Associations.
National deforestation data are only produced every 5 years and there is a strong demand for more frequent and more accessible information. Based on the market intelligence gained by the NERC pathfinder grant, the main objective of this follow-on fund project is to develop a smartphone application using satellite data to produce timely (near-real-time) forest cover mapping in order to address the practical challenges of forest monitoring and management in Kenya within the context of the UN Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation initiative (REDD+).