Satellite Monitoring for Forest Management

The SMFM project will aim to improve global knowledge and capabilities for forest degradation assessment and monitoring dry forest landscapes by building upon and complimenting existing international programs. Second, the SMFM project will support selected countries to develop their Earth Observation (EO) capacity. It will develop and test new or improved methods to process and analyse new satellite EO datasets, with assessments of EO processing methods completed through practical implementation in selected Partner Countries.

The Project Development Objective (PDO) is “Improved methods for satellite monitoring of tropical dry forest landscapes and forest degradation assessment are available to countries, with technical knowledge and capacity developed for global application in sustainable forest management, including REDD+.”

  • Tropical dry forests are subject to highest rates of deforestation and degradation around the world.
  • Forest degradation is a challenge across dry tropical forests and impacts sustainability of goods and services that these forests provide.
  • Most countries still do not have adequate monitoring capabilities, particularly the use of satellite EO technology.
  • Perceptions of forest degradation vary depending on the cause, the particular goods or services of interest, and the temporal and spatial scales considered.
  • Full understanding of forest degradation processes and of forest condition is lacking in most tropical countries, due to the technical challenges related to the assessment of different types of forest degradation.
  • Monitoring of forest degradation requires that tools are applicable for multiple types of tropical and sub-tropical forests, and that forest degradation can be detected by direct or indirect proxy measures.

Our solution: SMFM project will

  • Develop satellite Earth Observation (EO) methods and global knowledge on monitoring tropical dry forest ecosystems and forest degradation assessment.
  • New earth observation methods developed for monitoring tropical dry forest landscapes and forest degradation assessment.
  • Dry forest and forest degradation map products for sub-national areas, suitable for forest monitoring and management planning purposes.
  • Improve national technical capacity for monitoring of tropical dry forest landscapes and forest degradation assessment through training in new satellite EO methods and data.
  • Improve global knowledge of new satellite EO methods and data for monitoring tropical dry forests and forest degradation assessment. Recent advances in satellite EO data provision provide unprecedented views of the Earth and present an opportunity to tackle existing limitations in forest monitoring capabilities:
    1. European Space Agency’s Sentinel missions, United States’ Landsat -8 mission provide open access – dramatic increase in available data
    2. Improved EO methods and tools are required to take advantage of the new Sentinel mission capabilities

Image credit to NASA

Tracking Adaptation and Measuring Development

During 2012-2013, the Kenya Climate Change Action Plan (KCCAP) was developed and launched by the Government of Kenya. The action plan is designed around climate change adaptation and mitigation interventions supported by climate finance, an enabling regulatory and policy framework, technology, a monitoring reporting and verification plus system (MRV+) and a knowledge and capacity building strategy. The action plan recommends several actions for implementation which will lead to a low carbon climate resilient green economy. The National Performance Benefit Measurement Framework is Kenya’s MRV+ system. It contains both adaptation (M&E) and mitigation indicators (MRV) and was developed by LTS International.

As part of the MRV+ systems design work, LTS applied the Tracking Adaptation and Measuring Development (TAMD) evaluation framework to develop adaptation indicators for national and county level reporting. TAMD takes a dual approach, building a framework that lets countries evaluate how far, and how well, climate risks are managed at international, national and sub-national scales, and use vulnerability and development indicators to assess whether development outcomes bring better local climate resilience, and whether that aggregates at larger scales to produce climate-resilient development. The TAMD methodology describes the development of indicators that reflect vulnerability and institutional (adaptive) capacity, rather than climate impacts or risk. By doing this, actions that focus on the development end of the adaptation continuum are measured, rather than costly technological fixes that may have limited developmental benefits.

TAMD is being piloted by IIED in several countries. Kenya is in the unique position of having a set of national adaptation indicators that have been derived through the application of TAMD. LTS has designed the Kenya TAMD pilot and is now advancing TAMD roll-out at national and sub-national levels. We are addressing a significant gap between the current situation of TAMD and a working adaptation M&E framework.

LTS’s cutting-edge work on TAMD across Africa includes:

  • Formulating a design and appraisal report with agreed on the next steps in the TAMD initiative in Kenya and the options for implementation.
  • Engaging with Kenya’s policy partners – Ministry of Planning and Devolution and the National Drought Management Authority – to mainstream the TAMD approach within macro-sectoral planning.
  • Guiding TAMD pilot operations in Kenya across 5 counties (Isiolo, Wajir, Garissa, Kitui and Makueni) to support adequate institutionalisation of TAMD in County planning departments and Ward committees.
  • Working with community, sub-national and national stakeholders in the development of adaptation M&E frameworks at all levels which consists of developing theories of change for adaptation, indicators, assumptions, collecting and analysing baseline information and developing M&E plans.
  • Assisting in the establishment of the county-national level linkages of institutional adaptive capacity and development indicators and data information flow processes.
  • Advising the Adaptation Consortium under the DFID Strengthening Strengthening Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change in Kenya Plus (StARK+) on mainstreaming TAMD as a tool within their M&E system.
  • Producing quarterly reports against an agreed set of technical contents and on expenditure and activities; reports of events and liaison with Country and National agencies; a bespoke evaluation framework, blogs and press releases.

In Mozambique, Ethiopia and Tanzania, LTS is offering technical support to the TAMD teams in each country. This involves training the teams on developing adaptation M&E frameworks using TAMD and their integration into planning documents, reviewing reports and assisting in fieldwork when necessary.

The first publication from this work, a briefing note on “Institutionalising adaptation monitoring and evaluation frameworks: Kenya”, can now be downloaded here.

Our TAMD work has been acknowledged in Uganda where we contributed to a working paper on identifying national standard climate change indicators with a bottom up approach. The working paper is available here

Our work has also been presented at COP 21 in Paris. A summary video (6 minutes) and more detailed video (19 minutes) can be played below:


Evaluation of the Sustainability Dimension in Addressing Poverty Reduction

Poverty reduction was an overarching goal of the Finnish development cooperation strategy since 1993 through to the current Development Policy of 2007. The purpose of the evaluation was to identify concrete results and achievements in the Finnish development cooperation, with particular reference to the sustainable development approach. LTS undertook a desk study which was followed by field work in the following countries: Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Vietnam, Laos, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

The study investigated the poverty reduction outcomes that have taken place in relation to the application of the sustainability concept at a macro level in Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) partner countries; assessed the extent to which MFA interventions since 2000 have made a contribution to these changes through co-operation on forestry and biological resources; drew out lessons from past experiences and thinking, in particular looking for best practice, constraints and innovations; and consequently; identified how MFA interventions could achieve greater impact. The evaluation was guided by the OECD/DAC norms and quality standards for development evaluation.

Scoping of a High-Deforesting Multi-country Programme for the Africa Regional Department

This consultancy provided an opportunity to contribute to the work of a government department on a fast-moving, high profile portfolio. It involved facilitating a consultative process and conduct desk/internet research to produce a concept paper and the foundation elements of a DFID programme memorandum for a new ‘High Deforesting Multi-Country Programme’ for ARD. The role of the Consultant was to analyse the outcomes of COP 15/Copenhagen and to start to design a programme which would enable the selected countries to respond to/make the most of these outcomes. The Consultant required an understanding of the impacts of climate change on development, deforestation drivers, the potential of forests to reduce poverty and contribute to the MDGs, knowledge of international forest policy processes and institutions, ability to work with government and donors, and experience of east/southern Africa. He also required a good understanding of DFID and general development principles.

Policy Options for Strengthening the Management of Miombo Woodlands to Meet Household Needs in Southern Africa

The project contributed to the World bank project, Policies and incentives for improving the management of miombo woodlands to meet household needs in Southern Africa. The project outputs were for World Bank ARD and ENV staff working on the design and development of forestry interventions which incorporate elements of dry woodland management, as well as PREM staff who are engaged in the development of social, economic and policy instruments focused on poverty reduction, both through PRSPs and CASs and through Development Policy Lending instruments. This project provided a framework for an improved understanding of the linkage between rural livelihoods and miombo woodlands and was intended to inform the development of social and economic policies which have poverty alleviation as their primary objective. The overall project focused specifically on three themes: social and economic characteristics of miombo use and the role of miombo in income and consumption amongst poor rural households; how miombo woodlands can be better managed in a way which is consistent with meeting rural subsistence demands for tree products; and on social and economic policies which can strengthen their contribution to reducing risk and vulnerability of poor rural households through sustainable forest management. LTS provided an experienced staff member to author the paper on Policy options for strengthening dry woodland management in a way which contributes to their role in reducing risk and vulnerability and which enhances their contribution to household welfare. LTS undertook the background research and prepared a draft paper which was presented at a CIFOR meeting in November 2007, before completion of the draft in December 2007. The paper reviewed policy measures for improving the access, use and management of miombo woodland products by poor people. The paper developed themes which are emerging in the literature about the relationship between woodland management and the poor, including those related to common property resource use.

Regional Climate Change Programme

Southern Africa is particularly vulnerable to climate related challenges. As part of an ongoing effort to help minimize the risks associated with climate change, DFID has been supporting adaptation efforts in the region. In 2007/08 LTS, together with our regional partner OneWorld, conducted a 5-country feasibility study to clarify the role DFID should play to help southern Africa respond to the challenge of climate change. LTS identified key risks and vulnerabilities in the region, reviewed the anticipated impacts climate change and determined at what resolution biophysical information is needed to inform a) a robust regional programme and b) allow for effective monitoring of climate change progress and effectiveness of responses. It also concluded that a Regional Climate Change programme (RCCP) for Southern Africa (SADC region) could enhance adaptation to climate change, thus contributing towards poverty reduction. Subsequently, DFID approved funding a RCCP designed “to enable transboundary adaptation to climate change, with equitable access to climate funding, in southern Africa”. This programme, with funds managed by OneWorld and technical assistance supported by LTS and a number of South African Partners, was designed to promote capacity building and advisory support to the SADC region, as well as promoting stakeholder engagement, public awareness and lesson learning.

Forest Governance Learning Group

Forestry can contribute to the eradication of poverty and sustainability, but only with good forest governance. As a key founding member of the Forest Governance Learning Group (FGLG) LTS continues to focus its efforts on improving national forest programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa (Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda) and Asia (India, Indonesia and Vietnam), linking forestry’s contribution in poverty reduction strategies, tackling the effects on livelihoods of illegal logging and corruption in forestry, and ensuring sustainability and equity in forest privatisation and decentralisation. LTS has contributed to the FGLG process through overseeing new policy research conducted on illegal/corrupt forestry and poor people, facilitation of learning between countries promoted in two regions – West and Southern Africa, and developing specific practical governance guidance materials and tools.