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Satnews Daily
April 17th, 2012

Astrium + AFD...The Focus Is On Trees (Imagery)

[SatNews] Astrium and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) have launched...

...the second phase of their partnership to protect the forests of the Congo Basin. Thanks to their alliance, satellite images are being made directly available to Central African countries committed to the sustainable management of rainforests. The partnership’s goal is to develop forest-governance expertise in these countries, which are taking part in international initiatives such as REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and local projects, among them national climate plans designed to achieve greenhouse-gas reduction targets. In doing so, the nations of the Congo Basin are restating their commitment to the fight against climate change.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the leading countries in the organisation and structure of the agencies that make up the REDD+ program. Under the first phase of the partnership between the AFD and Astrium, signed in 2010, SPOT satellite images were made available to help identify methods for mapping the entire forest mass of the Congo Basin. Phase two will allow beneficiaries to implement these methods across all countries and enhance their forest-mapping expertise. It will also aid understanding of the factors involved in deforestation, with a view to setting national climate plans for forestry protection. Earth observation from space has long been used as a tool for mapping and managing forests. Combining broad coverage and resolution ranging from 2.5 to 20 metres, the satellite imagery provided by SPOT is ideally suited to monitoring forest cover. By comparing archive imagery taken between 1990 and 2011 against new photos, it will now be possible to assess the extent to which REDD+ targets are being met. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the disappearance of 13 million hectares of forest every year is the source of around 17 percent of all greenhouse-gas emissions linked to human activity.

  • Satellite imagery made available by France will help Central African countries implement strategies for the preservation and sustainable management of the forests of the Congo Basin, the world’s second-largest tract of rainforest
  • Phase two of the partnership between Astrium and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD)1 will consolidate the forest mapping expertise of countries in the area and help them set up national plans to combat climate change
  • According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), 13 million hectares of the world’s forests disappear every year

Link to AFD's homepage

The partnership between the AFD and Astrium has been made possible thanks to the support of the French government through a consortium of partners including IGN France International (IGN-FI), the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), the Institut National de l'Information Géographique et Forestière (IGN) and the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD).