REDD+ is a United Nations initiative which aims to mitigate climate change by enhancing forest management in developing nations. The acronym REDD+ stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, with the plus sign ‘+’ representing the additional aspects of forest landscape restoration and the promotion of sustainable forest management.
Addressing forest degradation and deforestation is hugely important in the fight against climate change. Deforestation accounts for 17% of annual CO₂ emissions worldwide, which is a larger proportion of emissions than those produced by the entire planet’s transport sector. It results in seven billion tons of CO₂ being released into our atmosphere each year.
In developing nations, the clearance and destructive exploitation of forests is largely driven by short-term economic motives. Forests are cleared to make way for agricultural activities including soya bean cultivation, palm oil production, and livestock farming. Generally, these activities benefit only wealthy investors, while poor local communities and indigenous people suffer a huge long-term loss. Forest conservation must have financial value for the local forest community, so the economic aspects need to be confronted.
REDD+ reduces net CO₂ emissions by creating financial value for standing forests through the sale of Verified Emission Reduction units (VERs), which corporations can purchase to offset their businesses emissions and reduce their overall carbon footprint. Using this mechanism, threatened forests become more valuable when they are alive than when they have been cut or burnt and cleared for agriculture.
Under the REDD+ scheme, developing nations receive financial rewards if they can demonstrate they are protecting their forests or utilising them in a more sustainable manner. When REDD+ financial pay-outs are distributed, the money benefits local and indigenous communities in the region of the protected forests, as this is the best way to build interest in forest conservation at a local level. The programme provides sustainable development opportunities for forest communities, as well as significant social, economic, and environmental benefits. Further information about the REDD+ mechanism developed by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) can be found on the official programme website.
The Copernicus Sentinel-2 Global Mosaic (S2GM) Service supports monitoring activities for REDD+ by providing unprecedented access to Sentinel-2 mosaics globally via the Mosaic Hub. The objective of the S2GM Service is to provide mosaic image products derived from the Copernicus Sentinel-2A and -2B platforms. The data products serve as inputs to further thematic processing, generation of higher-level products, and additional analysis. The overarching requirement is the selection of the most representative spectrum for a given pixel, selected from the set of observations made during the temporal compositing period. This helps to condense the overall information content; i.e. reduction of the data volume to a selection of the most-appropriate observations within a given period, lowering the processing burden of users. To further increase the availability of S2GM products for relevant regions and compositing periods, large REDD+ regions have been pre-processed and are now available as FTP downloads. All mosaics are provided as tiled products to facilitate usability, contain bands 2,3,4,8,11, and 12, and are stored in GeoTIFF format. See the table below for more details and contact us to receive ftp access!
|Tanzania and Kenya||Q2 (Apr - Jun), Q3 (Jul - Sep)||Q2 (Apr - Jun)|
|Republic of Congo||Q1 (Jan - Mar), Q2 (Apr - Jun)||Q1 (Jan - Mar)|
|Indonesia with full Borneo||Annual|
|Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam||Q1 (Jan - Mar)||Q1 (Jan - Mar)|
|Thailand||Q1 (Jan - Mar)||Q1 (Jan - Mar)|
|Brazil - Legal Amazon||Q3 (Jul - Sep), Q4 (Oct - Dec)|
|Brazil - Cerrado Biome||Q1 (Jan - Mar, Q2 (Apr - Jun), Q2 - Q3 (Apr - Sep)||Q4/2019 - Q1/2020 (Oct 2019 - Mar 2020)|
Click on the country or region in the above table to jump to the respective section!
Tanzania has approximately 33 million hectares of forest which covers a little more than half of the total land area. The vast majority of this forest is woodland, although there are patches of mangrove and coastal forest, montane forests, and plantation forests. The rate of deforestation is estimated at over 400,000 hectares annually, mainly as a result of the reliance on firewood which provides 95% of the country’s energy supply. Population growth, urbanisation, rural poverty, and policy failures are all factors leading to forest degradation and deforestation. The management of forest resources has been inefficient and the Government of Tanzania have found it difficult to define resource ownership rights, eliminate over-exploitation, and create forest investment activities.
Figure 1: Quarterly (April to June 2019) mosaic of Tanzania and Kenya
Kenya’s forests are under threat from the harvesting of firewood and timber products, as well as population increases and the conversion of forests to agricultural land. However due to REDD+ activities, women and youth across the country have learnt the value of forest preservation and have helped to improve the country’s forest cover. Indigenous people in forest areas are now engaged in the stakeholder conversation and are planting trees in forests and on their own farmland. Sustainable activities selling forest derived wood products, seedlings, honey, and mushrooms, have allowed forest communities to create jobs and generate income. Replanting efforts have also allowed locals to collect firewood from their own farms and brought water closer to their homes.
Figure 2: Sentinel-2 tiling grid (100 x 100 km2) over Tanzania and Kenya
Just 35% of the Republic of the Congo is unforested, the rest of the country is part of the planet’s second largest rainforest. This enormous forest is threatened by agriculture, logging, and rubber and palm oil plantations. The REDD+ programme has allowed the country to build capacity around forest monitoring and sustainable management. The country’s forests are being mapped, and land-use planning is being utilised to develop sustainable and subsistence agriculture. Under the guidance of the United Nations programme, the country is striving to develop the technical knowledge to undertake quality forest inventories that will ensure the conservation of forests, the maintenance of biodiversity, the mitigation of climate change, and a sustainable green economy future.
Figure 3: Quarterly (January to March 2019) mosaic of the Republic of the Congo
Figure 4: Sentinel-2 tiling grid (100 x 100 km2) over Congo
Top politicians in the Indonesian Government have been involved in the effort to reduce the country’s high rate of deforestation. Forest and peatland monitoring and reporting have improved under the REDD+ initiative’s engagement, with benefits realised even outside the country. Indonesia has been involved with the Global Peatland Initiative and has shared its knowledge with other developing countries. It even brought a draft resolution to the UN Environmental Assembly which was adopted in 2019. Government agencies have been involved in the low carbon green economy programme and the moratorium on palm oil. REDD+ funds have been utilised to develop new peatland, fire management, and economic development projects, which all help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Figure 5: Annual (2019) mosaic of Indonesia
Figure 6: Sentinel-2 tiling grid (100 x 100 km2) over Indonesia
Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam are all involved in REDD+. Of the group of nations, Laos has the highest forest cover at 81%, while all the others sit between 32% and 53%. Cambodia is developing its capacity for a National Forest Inventory, while in Laos there has been a focus on developing the capacity of local government, and planning within the forestry sector. In Myanmar, a temporary moratorium on all logging was introduced and harvesting of teak was banned for ten years. Additionally, a ten-year reforestation programme has commenced, along with a much-reduced annual timber harvesting rate. Vietnam highlights the advances it has made with the development of responsible investment guidelines. In-depth engagement with the cashew, coffee, and rubber industries has promoted sustainable investments which help to protect the nations forest. Thailand has been involved in SEPAL training workshops (System for Earth Observation Data Access, Processing, and Analysis for Land Monitoring) since joining the programme in November 2018.
Figure 7: Quarterly (January to March 2019) mosaic of Southeast Asia
Figure 8: Sentinel-2 tiling grid (100 x 100 km2) over Southeast Asia
Brazil’s national strategy aims to reduce illegal deforestation, restore forest systems, and generate benefits economically, socially, and environmentally. The strategy will adopt more monitoring procedures and deliver more financing. Deforestation has been reduced in Brazil in the past, through the classic ‘carrot and stick’ approach where incentives and disincentives are used to keep the forest standing, as well as the utilisation of more effective law enforcement. However, Brazil is struggling to develop the bottom up REDD+ objectives, and is still limited by the ‘command and control’ methods of government policy. Unfortunately, deforestation rates in recent times have begun to increase again, often as a result of illegal cattle ranching activities.
Figure 9: Quarterly (July to September 2019) mosaic of Northwest Brazil (Amazon Basin)
Figure 10: Sentinel-2 tiling grid (100 x 100 km2) over Northwest Brazil (Amazon Basin)
Figure 11: Quarterly (January to March 2019) mosaic of the Cerrado region (Brazil)
Figure 12: Sentinel-2 tiling grid (100 x 100 km2) over the Cerrado region (Brazil)