Remote Sensing to Monitor Global Deforestation

In June 2008, the then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the then Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda met in Tokyo to strengthen the strategic, security and economic partnerships between Japan and Australia. The two Prime Ministers affirmed their commitment to cooperate on climate change, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and ‘to develop innovative technologies in a shift to a low carbon society in order to achieve long term emissions reduction’.

Paro1 Clive FraserThe CRCSI was specifically mentioned in the agreement as an organisation that would assist in the development of technologies to address these issues.

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) was deemed critical. Deforestation is estimated to be responsible for about 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. REDD cooperation included a collaborative research alliance of the CRCSI, CSIRO and Japan’s National Institute of Environmental Studies and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

The aim of the alliance was to develop integrated forest and carbon monitoring systems for a Global Carbon Monitoring System (GCMS) which will underpin REDD policies.

The Australian Federal Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency asked the CRCSI in collaboration with CSIRO to help prepare a research plan for the use of remote sensing in the GCMS. The forward-looking plan was required to include the use of multispectral satellites, hyper-spectral satellites and radar imaging for forest monitoring and carbon modelling. Substantial training and capacity building were also anticipated, both on-shore and offshore.

This project has articulated with the International Forest Carbon Inventory project which is underway.