Forestry & climate change
State-of-the-art forestry services
Forests serve as habitats for two thirds of terrestrial animal and plant species, prevent soil erosion and water run-off, and play a major role in regulating our climate. But forested areas are shrinking at an alarming rate. Worldwide it is estimated that a fifth of all forest coverage was lost between 1960 and 2000. In Europe, less than half of the continent's original forested areas remain and deforestation is also accelerating across the entire developing world.
GAF has been providing innovative forest management solutions for more than 20 years, and we provide forest mapping and monitoring services on the national, subnational and supranational levels. Our customers are in both the public and the private sectors. We use cost-effective geospatial technology and earth observation-based information to implement comprehensive fit-for-purpose solutions. We facilitate forest governance, sustainable forest management and the implementation of international conventions such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD) and the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE).
Forest resources inventory and monitoring
We apply leading-edge methodologies using a combination of remote sensing and in-situ data for deforestation/forest degradation assessments and direct biomass estimations. We provide cost-effective solutions for operational mapping and the monitoring of forest cover and biomass changes in different ecosystems. Our services are comprehensive and include user requirements analyses, the creation of tailored but cost-effective solutions with known accuracy and precision, which are fully compliance with international standards and norms, as well as the full integration of solutions in the business logic and processes of our clients. We calibrate, validate and provide firm evidence that our solutions are fit-for-purpose.
Inventory and monitoring of forest resources are also key elements in tracing and validating the implementation of deforestation-free supply chains – also referred to as “zero deforestation” (ZD). In the New York declaration on forests signed on the UN Climate Summit in 2014, national and subnational governments, NGOs, and globally acting companies committed themselves to cut natural forest loss in half by 2020. GAF provides services and products to validate zero deforestation claims.
Climate change mitigation and adaptation
The importance of tropical forest ecosystems in stabilising the global climate has been a primary area of focus for the UNFCCC in recent years. This has led to a rapidly evolving policy segment in which countries are encouraged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation - REDD+. GAF has been supporting tropical countries in setting up the necessary institutional frameworks, elaborating strategic documents, which form a prerequisite for embarking on REDD+, and conceptualising and implementing national demonstration activities. These include the satellite-based assessments of historic and current forest area and forest area changes as well as biomass inventories for emissions accounting. In this context we specifically tackle the critical topics of equatorial forests under heavy cloud cover and dry forests in savanna regions. GAF also assists countries with the reporting of greenhouse gases in the LULUCF/AFOLU (Land use, land-use change and forestry / Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use) sector, in order to ensure compliance with Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) requirements as an elaboration of National Communications (NC) and Biennial Update Reports (BUR). Our services include forest-related mitigation measures that countries can implement as part of their low-carbon development plans.
Biodiversity and habitat mapping
Biodiversity i.e. the variety of life forms and our “natural capital and life-insurance” – is declining, which has consequences for ecosystem function and stability, and ultimately therefore for human well-being.
GAF provides services based on EO technology in order to support the user community involved in the implementation of the UNCBD. This includes the delimitation and zoning of protected areas, buffer zones and ecological corridors, the assessment of project impacts and risks, the mapping of natural resources like coral reefs and mangroves, and the generation of biodiversity indicators and environmental impact maps.
- Mapping and monitoring of forest areas - forest monitoring systems
- Deforestation/degradation assessments - change detection analysis (deforestation, afforestation, reforestation)
- Forest inventories (timber volume, biomass, carbon stock)
- Emissions accounting
- IPCC-compliant design of REDD+ MRV (measurement, reporting and verification) systems
- Support for REDD+ institutional frameworks
- Technical assistance for carbon stock inventories (terrestrial and remote sensing-based) at regional and project levels
- Remote sensing based carbon stock estimations with high resolution satellite imagery, aerial LiDAR instruments and stereo cameras
- Historical trend analysis and baseline assessment based on satellite imagery and scenario modelling
- Forest planning
- Analysis of risks and damage relating to storm, fire and overexploitation
- Capacity building, know-how and technology transfer
- Wood tracking systems
- Departments of forestry, ministries of environment
- European Space Agency, Germany Space Agency, European Environment Agency
- International banks (World Bank, KfW etc.)
- European Union
- Regional groupings e.g. SADC, COMIFAC (Africa)
- Forestry companies
- Wood supply firms
- Consulting businesses