By Charlotte Ross-Harris
The development of more comprehensive satellite imagery is making forest management and assessment much easier and more detailed. Throughout the many workshops I attend or accidentally stumble upon, I have seen many different applications of the technology. The extremely high level resolution images being produced now are the first to provide conclusive imagery of scarce woodlands or drylands. A potential carbon sink that has been previously ignored or left out of many assessments. The ability to undertake a quality global forest survey using satellite imagery not only saves us a lot of time, it is leading us towards a transparent world of forestry. Additionally, there seems to be a big push towards open and free data sharing. This access to global tree cover distribution is hugely valuable to monitor land restoration and makes countries accountable for the promises they make. In terms of carbon, they can map biomass change through time and calculate carbon uptake and emissions. Whilst deforestation (and the associated carbon emissions) is relatively easy to see, this development is making forest degradation more easily identified, which is essential information to obtain. Having this science based evidence is crucial in steering policy direction. This is especially relevant for indigenous communities whose contribution to the health and conservation of forests is largely ignored. In Brazil this mapping shows clearly how protected indigenous lands are associated with healthier forests. With a new study producing annual reports on the carbon storage change throughout the Brazilian Amazon, the indigenous peoples are able to advocate for their territorial rights and conservation of their forests. This conclusive scientific data cannot be ignored by policy makers and will make monitoring of programs such as REDD+ simple and transparent.
Trump Trump Trump
It has been hard to ignore United States politics today and stay focused on climate change, as one disgruntled American advised me on the bus this morning. A moving and inspiring youth rally against Trump’s election this afternoon drew people together. The youth of SustainUS made a commitment to stand by the most climate affected countries and promise to stage a mass civil disobedience over the next 4 years to keep fossil fuels in the ground. A powerful moment indeed.