Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 01/2010

FORMA: Forest Monitoring for Action--Rapid Identification of Pan-tropical Deforestation Using Moderate-Resolution Remotely Sensed Data - Working Paper 192

Dan Hammer, Robin Kraft, David Wheeler

November 2009

Center for Global Development


Rising concern about carbon emissions from deforestation has led donors to finance UN-REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries), a program that offers direct compensation for forest conservation. Sustainable operation of UN-REDD and other direct-compensation programs will require a transparent, credible, frequently updated system for monitoring deforestation. In this paper, we introduce FORMA (Forest Monitoring for Action), a prototype system based on remotely sensed data. We test its accuracy against the best available information on deforestation in Brazil and Indonesia. Our results indicate that publicly available remotely sensed data can support accurate quarterly identification of new deforestation at 1 km spatial resolution. More rapid updates at higher spatial resolution may also be possible.