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How to future-proof forests with advanced satellite data

Future-proofing forests is a long game that aims at maximizing an ecosystem’s health and value over decades.

To achieve this, three dimensions need to be considered: climate change mitigation, regeneration of biodiversity and social impact for local communities such as food security. To measure the impact being created, you need reliable and real time data.

By combining field data and satellite imagery, Everimpact produces accurate measures, rather than estimates. This results in high quality data demonstrating that forestry projects are effectively optimizing long-term health by taking care of biodiversity; and generating value for local communities in the form of carbon credits or a local economic activity like timber production. All this in a changing climate where everyone is invited to be a planetary steward.

“There is no future-proof forest without robust data”.

Forests require forward thinking management practices for optimal health and carbon sequestration

In forests, carbon is captured in trees, their roots and afterwards in wood. In agricultural land, if you associate crops with trees, like in agroforestry, both soil and trees will be sequestering carbon.

But carbon sequestration is not automatic, it has to be carefully engineered through forestry practices.

Sustainable forest management is informed by two types of insight.

  1. Human driven practices, for example type of trees, density, frequency at which trees are being chopped, and other agronomic or forestry criteria.

  2. Long-term impact of climate change.

When analyzing long time series of satellite images over specific areas, we can factually observe if forests are declining. One of the reasons could be that the tree species are not adapted to drier conditions as a result of climate change. If the climate is drier, trees grow less and mortality rates increase.

Prospective climate change scenarios from IPCC allow us to predict how likely the temperature and rainfall will evolve in the area. These climate forecasts should be taken into account when planning the creation or regeneration of the forests. More resilient species can be selected to adapt to the evolution of the climate predicted decades later.

We are in for a long-term forest management, never a short-term approach.

Forests follow cycles. They naturally grow, are disturbed and then regenerate. For example, to make the forest cycles longer, we ban clear cuttings and only extract the oldest trees before they die, to allow for natural regeneration to occur. Timber production / extraction should be managed in a way that allows carbon sequestration to remain stable.

Combining ground and satellite data to inform forestry practices

Satellites can provide a wealth of data on large areas of forest by tapping into various sources.

  • Tree species in the forest and native species in the region

  • Tree age

  • Long-term impact of climate change

  • Soil type

  • Photosynthetic activity

  • Past, previous, future carbon sequestration levels

  • Real time risks (logging, pest, wildfires, drought, flooding)...

At Everimpact, we collect and make sense of this data using proven methodologies. We also collaborate with local networks of scientific partners, such as research institutes and universities.

Remotely collected data can also be enriched by information collected by sensors and other field measurement methods, managed by local farmers or communities who know the land well.

Using Carbon credits with purpose and transparency

For rural land, like agriculture or forests, one of our priorities is to make sure that local communities get properly rewarded for their efforts in sequestering carbon. Also, it is important that the carbon credits support them because they are the ones doing the real job of taking care of local ecosystems.

At Everimpact, we reduce as much as possible intermediates to maximize the amount of money that goes to local communities. A way to do this is by being in direct contact with landowners.

By offering high quality carbon sequestration measurement in real time, we set a high bar on how carbon credits should be generated, and we reinforce the trust of carbon buyers. We believe it is crucial small farmers and vulnerable communities continue to benefit from the sale of high-quality carbon credits.

People have been working for decades to implement the carbon credits markets, and it cannot be put at risk because a few players are not doing the right thing.

The industry needs increased standards. The work we are doing to integrate the carbon sequestration data in secure digital platforms, and verify ground data with satellite imagery can dramatically improve the traceability of carbon credits. The technologies to develop better traceability systems exist but they require a systemic approach to make a difference.

Examples of successful forestry projects

These are two projects i have been involved with but there are many more!

Regeneration of a devastated area in Nicaragua

A ten-year project in Nicaragua succeeded in transforming an area that was initially devastated by landslides and flooding into a thriving, sustainably managed land. Thanks to satellite imagery and training of local communities and authorities, they were empowered to redesign and regenerate their landscape through the planting of adequate trees, crops and plants.

Future proofing a municipal forest in Japan

Everimpact are supporting the owners of 3900 hectares of forest in Japan, in partnership with Hitachi Systems, to modernize their forestry practices and help them access carbon credits. Using satellite imagery, carbon and biomass analysis, climate change impact modeling, we were able to assess past, present and future carbon sequestration and advise on forestry interventions to reverse the declining trend of the forest. Read the full case study.

Dashboard of a forest monitored with satellite remote sensing
Dashboard of a forest monitored with satellite

The Everimpact approach

As the CTO & Co-Founder at Everimpact, I bring 40 years of experience working in rural and urban development. I oversee a technical team of around 10 scientists who are supported by several networks of scientific partners.

Our projects are guided by the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

We have seized the urgency of our global issues which is why our efforts go into supporting our clients and local partners to regenerate our planet by using available technology wisely.


Watch our next Forestry webinar


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