New FLEGT Watch application to provide a satellite-based forest warning system in Central/West Africa

26 March 2018
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CIDT, through its CV4C project, is joining forces with Visioterra and Tropenbos to develop an innovative tool to be used in several countries of Central and West Africa to monitor illegal logging and other forms of forest cover change. However, cloud cover is a major obstacle for optical instruments limiting real-time monitoring of tropical forested regions, including many parts in Central and West Africa. Consequently, there are information blind spots for users, including decision makers, which creates opportunities for illegal logging hotspots to arise and persist.

The system named “FLEGT Watch” will overcome the problem of cloud cover through the use of radar based satellite images enabling users to detect changes using the latest satellite maps and information on land use, forest cover, fires, and hydrology. FLEGT Watch, using synthetic-aperture radar will disseminate visual and geo-referenced alerts that can be received on tablets and smartphones, enabling forest watch communities to enhance their performance.

FLEGT watch

FLEGT Watch in a nutshell:

  • Systematically analyze data from Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellites
  • calculate bio-geophysical indices related to the forest (biomass, leaves, vegetation, humidity …),
  • automatically detect the changes of values ​​of these parameters in the satellite image just acquired,
  • send notifications of change (s) or alarms to observers in their areas of interest,
  • embed satellite data, maps and images in a field application and / or on smartphones,
  • allow to find evidence (photos, measurements, comments …) in-situ and to share them in the network of observers and beyond,
  • provide dashboards of observed changes and their monitoring by observers,
  • publish reports on all observations or a particular observation,

Next Steps…

A first version of FLEGT Watch will be delivered in May 2018. The final version will be delivered in October 2018. Training will be provided to independent observers from the 8 Central and West African countries.