Congo Basin monitoring with Landsat,
initial results from 1990 to 2000

Regional-scale MODIS (MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer)-derived forest cover products are used to calibrate Landsat data for exhaustive high spatial resolution mapping of forest cover and clearing in the Congo River Basin. The approach employs multi-temporal Landsat acquisitions to account for cloud cover, a primary limiting factor in humid tropical forest mapping. A Basin-wide MODIS 250m Vegetation Continuous Field (VCF) percent tree cover product is used as a regionally consistent reference data set to train Landsat imagery. The approach is automated and greatly shortens mapping time.

Results from 1990 to 2000 are available. Derived high spatial resolution forest change estimates indicate that approximately 1.5 % of the forests were cleared from 1990 to 2000. However, forest clearing is spatially pervasive and fragmented in the landscapes studied to date, with implications for sustaining the region's biodiversity. The forest cover and change data are being used by the Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE) program to study human livelihoods, deforestation and biodiversity loss in the Congo Basin forest zone.

Papers describing project methodologies:

Hansen, M., Roy, D., Lindquist, E., Justice, C., Altstatt, A., 2008.
A method for integrating MODIS and Landsat data for systematic monitoring of forest cover and change in Central Africa
Remote Sensing of Environment, vol. 112, pp. 2495-2513.

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Lindquist, E., Hansen, M., Roy, D.P., Justice, C.O., 2008.
The suitability of decadal image data sets for mapping tropical forest cover change in the Democratic Republic of Congo: implications for the mid-decadal global land survey
International Journal of Remote Sensing, vol. 29, pp. 7269-7275.
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 Forest cover (2000) and forest cover clearing (1990-2000) for Congo basin

Data Download

Landsat-based forest probability circa 2000 and forest cover clearing between 1990s and 2000s

Download data [GeoTIFF, 388 Mb]

Download data [ERDAS IMG, Lat/Long, 344 Mb]

MODIS-based evergreen tropical forest map

Download data [GeoTIFF, Sinusoidal projecion, 5 Mb]

Provided data are available for use for valid scientific, conservation, and educational purposes as long as proper citations are used.

For further information, please contact:
Dr. Matthew Hansen
University of Maryland