With more than 20 years of expertise in tropical forest monitoring we are one of the leading value-adding companies for measuring deforestation and forest degradation as well as forest fire assessments and biomass estimation and carbon accounting.
RSS uses state-of-the-art monitoring and modelling techniques to provide valuable information on global forests. These services encompass but are not limited to Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) in the context of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) and carbon accounting. We also specialize in mapping forests, in monitoring forest cover change and forest biomass and carbon stock assessments.
Forests are biodiversity hotspots, store huge amounts of carbon in their above- and below-ground biomass and provide various ecosystem services to local communities. Unfortunately, land use intensification and unsustainable forest management practices lead to significant greenhouse gas emissions. The UN REDD+ program aims to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and aims at protecting and enhancing forest resources.
Voluntary carbon markets have emerged alongside UN-REDD+, which offer financial incentives for sustainable forest management. RSS has participated in REDD+ readiness and voluntary carbon projects since carbon accounting began, aiding projects ranging from technical consulting, forest monitoring and MRV-methodology development to capacity development among stakeholders.
DEFORESTATION & FOREST DEGRADATION
Our monitoring approach that makes synergistic use of high-resolution optical and Radar satellite data, identifies the current state of forests, the extent and density of forest cover, and its changes over time. Historical trends of deforestation and forest degradation are derived that can be compared to current and future activity data. The resulting datasets form the basis for REDD+ and carbon accounting projects as well as conservation and restoration activties.
IMPACTS OF FIRE
Forest fires affect millions of hectares of tropical forests every year especially in SE-Asia and Brazil. Recurrent fires cause a successive serious degradation of the tropical forest ecosystem.
We use remote sensing to assess the impacts of the fires to the tropical forest ecosystem and on biodiversity spatially and temporally. Forest fires alter the composition of the forest vegetation by suppressing certain species and promoting other species. Often forest become more susceptible to fire, because subsequent fires burn with increased velocity and intensity and cause higher tree mortality. Forest managers can use data on fire impact and frequency prevention and to improve fire combat and adapt forest management.
Different forest types require different management and protection measures. The dominant tree species and the extent of tree communities are often unknown variables when planning forest resources or supporting protected area management. By using multitemporal satellite data, different phenologies of tree species can be derived. By combining this information with digital terrain and digital surface models as well as structural canopy parameters, different forest types can be mapped at high spatial detail.
ASSESSING FOREST BIOMASS
SAR-based Biomass Assessments
With latest SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) satellite sensors, which collect land cover characteristics cloud-independent, large-scale monitoring of above-ground biomass (AGB) rather becomes possible from space. Sentinel-1 and ALOS PALSAR are particularly suitable to identify even small-scale biomass variability and changes. SAR data unfold their full potential when combined with LiDAR data and forest inventories, with the result of precise forest biomass and carbon stock maps. It can benefit REDD+ projects, conservation efforts, sustainable management of forests, and activities for the enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
BACKGROUND ON LiDAR
LiDAR is an active, optical sensor that employs laser pulses to detect a given target (e.g. tree canopy, ground). The time it takes for the pulse to return from a target allows the device to calculate the distance between sensor and target. When combined with LiDAR’s extremely fine spatial resolution, one can generate highly detailed maps of objects on the ground, beneficial to any number of applications.
LiDAR based biomass assessment
Our LiDAR expertise provides you with one-stop services from flight survey planning to DSM/ DTM extraction and the delivery of secondary products (e.g. Biomass and carbon density maps). With accuracies in the centimeter range, airborne laser scanning (LiDAR - Light Detection and Ranging) allows generating precise aboveground biomass (AGB) models of forests. Derivatives of these models include information on carbon stocks and emission fluxes, which aid initiatives like High Carbon Stock (HCS) studies and sustainable forest management programs.
LiDAR technology ‘sees’ through vegetation layers and thus accurately assesses the three-dimensional structure of forest canopies. These products reveal changes in vegetation structure and biomass at unprecedented levels of detail and accuracy.