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Department of Geography


Applications of airborne remote sensing to the conservation management of a West African National Park

Reducing emissions from tropical forest deforestation and degradation (REDD+) is regarded by some leading economists as a cost-effective means of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change.

In terms of conservation, REDD+ is often regarded as a win-win-win opportunity: climate change will be mitigated, biodiverse forests protected and local communities rewarded.

Yet, the large-scale implementation of REDD+ faces many technical and socio-economic challenges. The key technical issues involve monitoring carbon cheaply and transparently, and demonstrating that REDD+ activities are having co-benefits for biodiversity.

Because of this, attention is turning to remote sensing technologies to monitor hard-to-measure processes over spatial scales relevant for conservation management. Among these, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) promises to be among the best suited for characterizing forest structure and dynamics, as well as capturing the legacy of disturbance events.

This project is funded by the CCI Collaborative Fund for Conservation, with team members from the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, the RSPB, University of Tuscia, Italy and the Department of Geography, University of Hawaii, USA.