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

Background Paper and Analysis of Country Data to Support Development of Comprehensive Landscape Methodological Approach

The BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes (ISFL) seeks to promote reduced greenhouse gas emissions from land-use. The Initiative will support reducing deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+), increasing sustainable agriculture, and smarter land-use planning, policies and practices. ISFL is currently operating in Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and Zambia. Contributors to the ISFL include Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

ISFL designs programmes that focus on an integrated approach to the entire landscape with the ultimate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and producing co-benefits such as improvements to livelihoods or agricultural productivity. For example, an ISFL programme could coordinate efforts in sustainable agricultural production projects, agro-forestry schemes, assisted natural regeneration, energy projects, water management, and REDD+ to align objectives and maximise impacts in the jurisdiction. Ultimately, jurisdictions that implement these measures are expected to generate emission reductions that can be purchased by ISFL through a results-based financing mechanism.

This project will produce a background document that will support future discussions on the development of a comprehensive landscape methodological approach. The document will: (i) describe and analyse the IPCC guidelines to ensure that ISFL Contributors have a common understanding of the guidelines and the decisions required to build the ISFL methodological approach and (ii) provide an analysis of available relevant data in ISFL countries. As part of this analysis, an understanding of the quality of data sets will also be ascertained.

LTS is leading the project, from a technical and management perspective, deploying a multi-disciplinary team of experts. The keys tasks include:

  • Provide a description of the key concepts in the IPCC guidelines to ensure that ISFL Contributors have a common understanding of the IPCC
  • Provide an analysis of available historic relevant data in ISFL programme countries
  • Identify key decisions and options going forward
  • Present and explain the results of the first three tasks to the ISFL Contributors

The main outputs include a concise background report, written for non-technical experts, and supported by evidence (in annexes).

Mid-term Review and Planning for the Norwegian-funded Conservation Farming Unit Programme

Norad has provided NOK 302m to support the promotion of conservation agriculture through the Conservation Agriculture Programme (CAP II) in Zambia and Conservation Agriculture Regional Programme (CARP) in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda. These two programmes are managed by the Conservation Farming Unit (CFU) of the Zambian National Farmers Union under a contract with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

LTS International will design and deliver the mid-term review and provide recommendations to support decision-making with respect to further Norwegian support to the programmes and to conservation agriculture in general. LTS has provided an overall team leader and national consultants in Zambia, Malawi, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

Evaluation of National Forest Monitoring and Assessment Programme & Country Projects

The importance of forestry related data and information at the national level is increasingly critical to decision making, sustainable forest management; reducing GHG emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD); land use planning policies and national socio-economic development. FAO’s National Forest Monitoring and Assessment (NFMA) Programme was established in 2000 in recognition that developing countries lacked institutionalised systems of national forest inventory and monitoring and currently works in 50 countries.

LTS undertook an evaluation in accordance with OECD criteria and assessed the utility and impact of the programme and, based on lessons learned, identified obstacles and opportunities for the future and made recommendations on how the NFMA Programme should develop for maximising its effects and adapting to new and evolving needs at national and international levels such as IPCC requirements for monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) under REDD regimes. The programme involved country evaluations of Cameroon, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Philippines and Zambia.

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.

Technical Support to Community Conservation, Project Design, Monitoring and Evaluation

The Serengeti-North Luangwa Ecosystem Management Project (SLEMP) was a 5-year integrated conservation, development and landscape management initiative jointly implemented by Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS), with co-financing from the European Commission’s Programme on Tropical Forests in Developing Countries.  The project piloted the Biodiversity Convention’s Ecosystem Approach in two of Africa’s outstanding savannah ecosystems, the Serengeti (Tanzania) and North Luangwa (Zambia). Activities focused on establishing inter-sectoral ecosystem cooperation mechanisms andimproving understanding of ecosystem processes.

LTS provided technical inputs and capacity building into the commmunity conservation components of the Serengeti and North Luangwa Ecosystem Project.  It provided project management support, and capacity building of FZS staff and back stopping for the project, paricularly with respect to monitoring and evaluation. The project logic was assessed, as was progress on implementation of the project’s goals. Training was given on monitoring and evaluation and monitoring and evaluation plans for the Serengeti and North Luangwa components of the project were developed through participatory workshops. Key challenges were identified towards project implementation, particularly over the community conservation component, and recommendations made. Technical review and inputs were made into the design of a project to establish a trust fund mechanism for the Serengeti ecosystem.

Support to Forestry College Curriculum Revision

The Forestry Colleges Curriculum Development Project aimed to revise the forestry curricula, build the capacity of College teachers to carry out curricula review, update teaching methods and produce new materials. The project objective was to link and build capacity for the national forestry programme in its early stages of implementation in order that lack of skills are no longer a constraint to its success. The Project also aimed to promote female student involvement, establish a monitoring and evaluation system and upgrade College facilities with a view to setting up systems for self -financing of the college in the future. International and regional networking were key strategies for change in this project.