Task 1 – We will work with respective government agencies in priority CARPE countries to advance operational land cover and land use capabilities. As a founding member of CARPE, the University of Maryland has developed methods for large area land monitoring, consisting of data-intensive approaches using time-series satellite imagery and area estimation methods that conform with IPCC good guidance practice. These methods may be ported and operationally implemented by responsible in-country agencies for reporting national and sub-national land dynamics and natural resource assessments. In year one, we will continue our collaborations with in country agencies, USFS, and other partners, augmenting current national-scale monitoring activities, starting with DIAF and CNIAF.
Activities – Update emissions-relevant land change analyses in partnership with national agencies, employing best practices for mapping and sampling in deriving time-series area change estimates. Employ advanced imagery such as 3m spatial resolution Planet as reference data as a value-added input to national-scale monitoring.
Task 2 – Close, repeated interactions with offices and staff responsible for National Forest Monitoring Systems tasked with producing official information are needed to ensure an enduring and reliable capability. We host regular workshops that focus on implementation of operational forest monitoring. Our work is not modeled on short term interactions, but continuous partnerships and long-term activities directly focused on official reporting requirements. We also evaluate new technologies with agencies in a research to operations mode. We will continue our collaborations, for example establishing and improving baseline reference data and forward monitoring capabilities. The work is related to Task 1, and includes supporting operational monitoring tasks, but also advancing methods through the use of novel technologies and methods. To this end, our field work plans include visits to DRC and/or RoC to perform sample-based assessments of forest carbon stocks relating forest structure data from UAV-based lidar observations to in situ inventory data. Depending on logistical feasibility, we plan field work in Kwilu, DRC in collaboration with DIAF and a national sample in RoC in collaboration with CNIAF. If this is not an option, we will pursue very high spatial resolution mapping using 3m Planet data, an application appropriate for the small-scale forest disturbance dynamics of the Congo Basin.
Activities – Integrate lidar and in situ data for assessing carbon stocks and change employing sample-based field assessments. Evaluate Planet data as an input to mapping fine-scale logging, charcoal, and shifting cultivation practices.
Task 3 - National forest monitoring systems start with institutional partnerships of government agencies responsible for implementing national monitoring systems and generating official data, academic institutions which act as a pipeline for new talent and methodologies, and nongovernmental organizations that serve as a partner in maintaining and advancing capabilities and a backstop if government systems falter. In addition to our partnerships with in region forest monitoring agencies, we also partner with universities in research and education, and helped to inaugurate OSFAC, which has become a regional center for remote sensing and geospatial analytical excellence. Staff and students at UMD are products of the nascent geospatial education and professional practice in the region, and continue to serve the various needs and aspirations of institutions in building durable expertise. All of our work will include OSFAC as a partner, and where possible, the University of Kinshasa, the University of Marien Ngouabi, and other relevant higher education institutions.
Activities – For any implemented task, incorporate and partner with civil society organizations.