Interactive Forest Monitoring System: A Case Study of Kafa, Southwestern Ethiopia
Pratihast, Arun Kumar; Devries, Ben; Kooistra, Lammert; Bruin, Sytze de; Herold, Martin
Wageningen University, NETHERLANDS

Tropical deforestation (D) and forest degradation (FD) accounts for up to 20% of the total annual anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. To address this issue, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has proposed an international mechanism called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) in developing countries. Countries participating in REDD+ schemes are required to establish a national monitoring system which keeps track of forest area changes over time. Current schemes for monitoring are based on remote sensing and field measurements. Since both of these methods have inherent weaknesses in data quality, interactivity and long term community participation, adopting the current schemes for effective REDD+ implementing is a challenging task. Advances in technology have enabled near real-time earth observation data processing and sharing. In particular, the growth of the world wide web and social networking sites is contributing to an increase in the interaction between local community groups and remote sensing products. This research presents an integrated approach making use of remote sensing images and ground measurements to establish interactive forest monitoring at a sub-national scale. This research focuses on the development and application of an interactive forest monitoring method (IFMM) which is demonstrated as a tool for D and FD monitoring in Kafa, Southwestern Ethiopia. Our IFMM exploits synergies between remote sensing, mobile phone technologies, web-GIS and social networking sites. There are three main component of the system: a) the continuous acquisition of remote sensing data from satellites and ground data from mobile devices; b) near real-time processing and forest disturbance detection using the Break Additive Season and Trend (BFAST) Monitor method; and c) presentation of results through web-based based application and social networking sites to increase the interactivity with the end user and integrating the feedback of the end user with the system for the improvement of the methods. We expect that the future Sentinel-2 mission will deliver high-resolution data globally that play a useful role in the sustainable implementation of these methods.