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In the Field. Pantropical Scholars Newsletter (november 2012)

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In the Field. Pantropical Scholars Newsletter (november 2012)

  1. 1. Woods Hole Research Center In the Field Pantropical Scholars Newsletter November 2012Pantropical Visiting Scholars Program A letter from the President ...T ropical deforestation and forest degradation account for an estimated 17% of the world’s annual anthropogenicemissions of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas advances specific research project objectives, but also includes training in remote sensing, laboratory analyses, modeling, data analyses, and writing. The motivation for these effortscontributor. Despite the important ecosystem services that is the realization that solutions to national challenges intropical forests provide, basic information on these forests environmental resource management will require in-countryis often lacking, making it difficult to monitor deforestation human resources for science and policy.and changes in forest-cover and associated carbon stock atglobal scales. Forest monitoring is becoming increasingly An excellent example of this approach of integrating researchimportant to international policy efforts to slow the rates of and capacity building is the Pantropical Visiting Scholarstropical forest loss. Understanding mapping methods is critical Program. A select group of scholars from across the tropicsto governments, forest communities, and indigenous groups including Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia visited theengaged in the political process. There is an urgent and Woods Hole campus during a three-year program to train withgrowing need to transfer the knowledge and skills required WHRC scientists to expand their skills in forest measurementfor forest monitoring, thus building the technical capacity of and monitoring techniques for the purposes of advancingcountries and communities to map and monitor their own knowledge-transfer within their home regions. The programforest resources. explored the technical aspects and approaches of tropical forest mapping, including field and remote sensing dataThese research and policy topics will be with society for acquisition, image processing, and statistical analyses, as wellgenerations. While there is urgency for the current generation as the use of satellite imagery together with ground-basedof policy makers to carry out climate change mitigation and measurement techniques in the development of forest coverforest conservation efforts, the next generation will inevitably and carbon-stock maps. The group has remained in contact,continue to deal with these issues, perhaps under even and they continue to produce this bi-annual newsletter as amore challenging circumstances than at present. Therefore, follow-up to the pantropical WHRC scholar network.integration of our research with training and education isstrategically important for our mission and vision of advancing It is heartening to see the lasting impact of this group’s work,science to achieve sustainability goals. including new in-country applications and the multiplying effect of their efforts to train others. I congratulate theseThe WHRC has had a long history of hosting visiting scholars dedicated scholars as they provide us with examples of theirfrom many countries, including graduate students, early ongoing impact in the following pages.and mid-career scientists, and technicians. This work often Eric Davidson, PhD donesia, ia, Gabon, India, In Reports from Boliv In th is Is su e: Mexico, Uganda, Vi etnam and Zambia!
  2. 2. The Challenge of Conserving Forest While Achieving Development Goals Nadine Laporte, Woods Hole Research CenterDear Scholars,Ihave some good news from the NASA Earth Science Division! Our project, Forest Carbon Assessment for REDD in the East Africa SERVIR Region, has been funded by the Applied Sciences Program and will run from October 2012 to September 2016.In most of Africa, carbon stocks have been highly depleted due to the high demand for agricultural land and fuel wood consumption fromthe growing population. With this new project, we hope to provide improved estimates of standing carbon for this region and developdifferent scenarios of land cover change to help decision makers realize the potential impact of their forest policies. This information iscrucial to the development of REDD+ programs in Africa since more than 90% of energy is derived from wood resources, which makes itvery challenging to conserve forest and enhance carbon stocks. The forests of this region are very fragmented. In Kenya, near Nairobi (seemap below) most of the remaining forest and associated standing carbon is located in the protected mountain ranges, also called the “watertowers.” These five major forested mountains-Mt. Kenya, Aberdares, Mau forest, Mount Elgon, and Cherangani Hills - jointly supply most ofthe fresh water resources for the entire country and are also critical reservoirs of biodiversity.With the assistance of the NASA SERVIR East Africa hub and our collaborators in the region, we plan to update and improve our estimates ofstanding carbon, and assist forest communities and managers with their REDD projects. We hope that the information we provide will alsoallow the development of innovative energy and forest strategies, with the goal of conserving forests while achieving development goals.SERVIR focuses on specific geographic regions and uses Earthobservations to support environmental management, climateadaptation, and disaster response in developing countries. Funding A Request Fromof this SERVIR project includes hosting of the first technical workshop Ned Horning, American Museum of Natural Historyto be held in the region, from November 26-30 in Tanzania. Theworkshop is co-funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy and is being Dear Scholars:organized by WHRC, the Jane Goodall Institute, AMNH, and I have been busy with different projects, but one that you may be interested in is the packaging of some of the outreach material that was presented at the last scholar meeting. I added notes for the presentation slides and also described in more detail the steps for each exercise. The idea is to share with you, the scholars, this draft material and to receive your feedback so as to make it easier for you and others to share this information, to teach others, and also to incorporate your ideas and material. Please take a look at the documents I posted for you on our FTP site and send me your comments. If there are other topics for presentations or exercises that you would like to see added to this list, let me know and I’ll try to add it. Also, if you have content that you would like to add please let me know. You can feel free to use any of these materials, but keep in mind that it is not a final product yet.WHRC biomass map 2007 Wood s Hole
  3. 3. Sharing and Acquiring Technical Structural Characterization of Forest Expertise in Gabon Diversity with Remote Sensing in Mexico Andreana Paola Mekui Biyogo, Ministry of Water and Forests Isabel Trejo, National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO)I have been busy training the staffs of the Ministry of Water and Forests, the National Agency of National Parks (ANPN), the National School ofWaters and Forest, and the Directorate General for Environment. In the I am currently developing the protocol for my dissertation, which is called “Structural characterization of forest diversity in Mexico through remote sensing: An Approach to Biodiversity.” The trainingtraining sessions, I was able to share with my colleagues some of the I received at WHRC motivated me and gave me the skills and toolsnew Remote Sensing techniques and GIS tools I acquired during the necessary to undertake such an analysis.WHRC training. My thesis aims to generate information about the structural diversityI also organized and facilitated a national validation workshop to of forests using remote sensing. In Mexico, we now have a Nationaldiscuss the National Strategy for Sustainable Development in Libreville Forest Inventory (NFI) that contains structural information; however,from 29 to 30 May 2012. information gaps remain. My goal is to provide complete structural information for these data gaps using remote sensing. I will use aIn the framework of the project “Development of a System of National combination of Landsat optical images and lidar. The forest inventoryForest Resources Inventory,” I participated in training organized by the plots will serve as training data and help me to analyze associationsJapan Forest Technology Association (JAFTA). The goal of the project between forest structure as observed on the ground and in the remoteis to provide information for REDD+ and forest management in the sensing data.context of the international climate change negotiations. The map below shows the average heights of trees that were measuredIn addition, I worked with Nadine Laporte assisting an Italian University during the NFI. This information will be integral to the development ofinvolved with a GHG-Project in Africa. This included help with models that link field and remote sensing data in order to characterizecomplicated administrative procedures for obtaining research permits, forest structure throughout Mexico.and planning lidar’s overflight authorization.For more information on the JAFTA project check: remote sensing training workshop where one of the trainers was Scholar PaolaMekui Gabon Mexico
  4. 4. Declining Deforestation Rates in the Bolivian Legal Amazon Eric Armijo, Fundación Amigos de la Naturaleza (FAN)A fter several months of satellite imagery processing, a report is now available on our recent (2008-2010) deforestationanalysis in the Bolivian Legal Amazon. This area comprises 16million hectares (39 million acres) of mostly dense, humid forestin the northern part of the country.The main finding is a decrease in the average rate of deforestation,which is now 12,900 hectares per year (2008-2010), and less thanhalf the conversion rate of the previous period (2005-2008). Thisobservation confirms an overall decline of forest conversion ratecompared to a peak in the early 2000s.This new information on forest extent and conversion rateis being used to address the monitoring needs of a climatemitigation project in the area, led by Fundacion Amigos dela Naturaleza (Friends of Nature Foundation) and involvingindigenous communities. The next step is a follow-up project toaddress local communities’ needs on sustainable developmentwhile including a climate change adaptation approach. Bolivia
  5. 5. Helping Forest Communities Adapt to Climate Change: A Field Report from Indonesia Virni Budi Arifanti, Ministry of Forestry of IndonesiaS ince my return from WHRC, I have been focusing on several research questions related to climate change in forest communities: what is the effect of climate change on communities around the forest? How vulnerable are they and their living environmentto climate change? What are their adaptation strategies, and how much is the fund allocation for climate change adaptation at thecommunity level? These questions form the basis of the project I have been working on this year.From May 10-16, 2012, I went to Apui village in Minyambouw district, West Papua Province, to conduct research about climate changeadaptation strategies of communities around the forest. The village lies in the Arfak mountains, where the majority of the populationare farmers. Most of the villagers make their living through shifting cultivation. The effect of climate change in this area has alreadybeen observed through increasing temperatures; the first occurences of mosquitos in this mountainous area; the emergence of new,historically lowland plants; and for the last 10 years, the planting season has altered significantly due to the inconsistent rainy season.In this research, we investigate how the way of life in this village has changed due to climate change, how they adapt to the changingplanting season, how they conserve their lands to avoid increasing erosion and floods in their district, the fund allocation foradaptation strategies, and the impact of local government policy on the development of this district. One of my tasks is to make amap of the vulnerable area within the watershed of the Minyambouw district. The vulnerable area is defined through a combinationof socioeconomic data with thematic maps for biophysical parameters, such as a topography, elevation, erosion, land cover, land use,river networks, and rainfall data.We have observed an interesting phenomenon in the field: the people in the village are still not aware of climate change or theimportance of forest conservation; they just live life in the moment, with its ups and downs. We still have a lot of work to do here!Apui village, a small forest community in the Arfak mountains in Indonesia. Virni and her team interview villagers and farmers about how the changing climate has affected their way of life. In donesia
  6. 6. Mapping Forest Cover Type and Forest Cover Change in Vietnam Giang Nguyen Vu and Quyen Hanh Nguyen, Vietnam Space Technology InstituteS ince returning from WHRC, Quyen and I have been busy applying a remote sensing technological approach to forest stratificationand conducting a field survey. The knowledge we gained while At the Space Technology Institute, we are currently struggling with how best to incorporate remote sensing and field techniques into our plan for REDD+. There are two approaches to MRV underat WHRC was definitely helpful in our work. During our mapping consideration for the REDD+ initiative in Vietnam: 1) applicationprojects, we combined image segmentation with a traditional of remote sensing techniques and 2) Participatory Carbon-classifier to map the forest cover type and identify areas of forest stock Monitoring (PCM). Each approach has its own advantagescover change. The overall accuracy of the original product was and disadvantages; the remote sensing approach seems to be82% and showed further improvement after post classification appropriate for national scale modeling, while PCM is suitable forprocessing. WHRC’s field guide was very helpful and facilitated the project level. There are many possible methods to apply remoteour fieldwork operation. The Vietnam REDD office is aiming to also sensing and GIS technology to classify forest cover and estimatecreate a field manual to derive allometric equations from destructive forest biomass. Should we develop a new forest classification systemmeasurements; more detail can be found at Guidelines for forest to adapt with the practical limitations of using remote sensing data,carbon estimation ( or apply a fractal cover approach, as WHRC has done? Do any of younewsdetail&zoneid=107&subzone=157&itemid=426&lang=en-US). share the same concern? Vietnam
  7. 7. Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Modeling Forest Change in Uganda Project Area Verification in Uganda Grace Nangendo , Wildlife Conservation Society Edward Ssenyonjo, Uganda National Forest AuthorityS ince February 2012, most of our time has been spent preparing for the forthcoming visit of the World Bank and site validatorsfrom Germany. The purpose of their visit is to verify four CDM I spent the last months of 2011 and early 2012 modeling future forest change for the Murchison-Semliki landscape. Forest cover of 1995, 2005 and 2010 were used. Drivers used included a Digitalproject areas in southwestern Uganda and all efforts have been Elevation Model, roads, distance to market, distance to village,aimed at ensuring that this verification goes well so that we may protection status (protected or not protected) and distance toreceive the first carbon credits at the end of the year. With my rivers. The Land Change Modeling extension of the Idrisi softwarecolleagues at the National Forest Authority (NFA), we led several was used. During this analysis, the land change modeling trainingstaff trainings as well as a number of mapping activities, including: obtained at WHRC enabled me to make better informed decisions and interpretation of obtained results. The outputs are being used • Training all staff participating in the CDM projects in: in the Project Design Document (PDD) for this landscape for a REDD project. • Protocols to be followed when mapping I am now preparing datasets for the modeling of species response • Protocols to be followed in plot measurement to climate change in the Albertine rift. The analysis will cover plants, • Hands-on use of the GPS receivers birds, and mammals. • Plot data entry in the field form and thereafter into the computer • Management of GPS data (e.g., upload, download, cleaning and integration into GIS) • Mapping and stratifying the tree crop • Measurement of sample plots in the various strata • Quality control of trees inventory data, and project area boundaries • Emissions reduction calculations • Finalizing and submitting all required documents in April • Final field and administrative preparations for the arrival of the CDM validators on 29 May 2012One of the major concerns of the validation exercise was thephysical demarcation of about 80km of project area boundarieson the ground in five projects. Marking the entire 80km wouldbe too expensive for NFA, so I used my skills and open sourcesoftware (Spring and the Landsat gap filler) acquired from WHRC The figure shows the transition potential of forest cover in the Murchison-Semliki land-to generate maps that were used to explore the lowest cost scape. The legend indicates the probability of any area changing from forest to anotheroptions possible. Eventually the cheapest was selected and used land cover type. Higher values indicate higher probabilities of forest part of the Corrective Action Requests for the CDM compliance.Additionally, the Uganda National Forest Authority hosteda training (21-19 May) on the use of ERDAS software. It wasconducted by Oaker Services of Nairobi, Kenya. Uganda
  8. 8. Use of Geospatial Technology in Forest Survey and Forest Management in India Mukund Srivastava, Indian Forest ServiceS ince my last visit to WHRC, I have been working on applications of geospatial technology at the Forest Survey of India (FSI), which are integral to our core mandate. A few of our most recent and exciting RS/GIS projects include a 2011 forest cover map of the country,several early detection and monitoring systems, and a National Forest Information System.Since 1986, FSI has completed 12 cycles of biennial, nation-wide forest cover maps using GIS and Remote Sensing. In 2001, we switched todigital interpretation of satellite images for Forest Cover Mapping (FCM). To that end, we have completed 23.5 m resolution, wall-to-wall FCMof the country using IRS LISS III data. In order to ascertain the accuracy of the generated output, we used high-resolution satellite data andground truth information.Additionally, we have begun near real-time monitoring of forest fires (MODIS products) using “Direct Read Out”. Due to these initiatives,the reaction time for forest fires has been reduced to 2-3 hours from the time of the incident capture by satellite image/satellite overpass.Further, the interactive Geoportal of the FSI is also operational, providing information on the forests (e.g., density, class-wise forest cover,forest types, vulnerable forest grids from climate change point of view etc.) up to the forest compartment level.Finally, we are also working on a National Forest Information System. Our vision is to implement an information technology framework tofacilitate the acquisition, integration, processing, and dissemination of data/information involving the various departments in India thathave forest-related information. The NFIS portal will: • interface with the distributed access control protocols, • maintain jurisdictional/custodial identity of content, • support navigation and search of forest resources content, • support real time object annotation, and • provide simple spatial and thematic analysis.I should note that, thanks to my participation in the WHRC workshops, we are also investigating how we may better utilize open sourcesoftware for image processing. These analyses are still in their infancy, so I will post more at a later time. Forest Types in India Tropical Wet Evergreen-North East Tropical Wet Evergreen-Western Ghats Tropical Semi Evergreen-North East Tropical Semi Evergreen-Eastern Deccan Tropical Semi Evergreen-Western Ghats Tropical Moist Deciduous Forests Littoral & Swamp Forests Tropical Dry Deciduous Forests Tropical Thorn Forest Tropical & Subtropical Dry Evergreen Forests Subtropical Pine Forests Montane Moist Temperate Forest Sub Alpine & Temperate Forest Alpine Scrub Plantation/TOF Non Forest In di a
  9. 9. Developing a Forest Inventory Design for Zambia Abel Siampale and Sitwala Wamunyime, Zambia Forestry DepartmentS ince November 2011, we have been extremely busy planning and conducting pre-assessment forest inventories over someunique ecosystem types throughout Zambia. Our goal is to help Abel has trained 6 graduates to generate results from the GE tool. A systematic grid of about 6,000 cells at a 10-kilometer interval was created using GE for the entire country with each grid cell containingplanners to develop a suitable forest inventory design for the 25 points (plots). For each grid cell we assessed land cover and percentcountry. A number of options have since been considered, with of tree cover for 35 locations. Field teams are now visiting the 6,000a view to improve on the quantity and quality of the intended clusters, measuring main carbon pools (above ground, below ground,outputs for UN-REDD+ in Zambia. For instance, in conjunction dead wood, litter including grass, and soils). In order to accomplish thiswith foresters in Zambia and from FAO in Rome, we have used intensive effort, about 230 technical staff were assembled and includedthe Google Earth (GE) tool for assessing land cover distribution 40 field teams of 5 people each. During August, an exhaustive 30-dayand the percent of tree cover. We intend to stratify Zambia based training session took place with various field crews: one land coveron forest density classes ranging from 10% to 80+% tree cover. and land use mapping team of 10 experts, one data entry team of 10 people, and one quality control and assurance team of five people. Abel and Sitwala have been the lead facilitators for these training sessions.Systematic grid over Zambia for field sampling. Zam bia
  10. 10. The Pantropi cal Scholars Team at WorkTo learn more, please visit our Pantropical Education and Capacity Building page at
  11. 11. The Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) is a private, non-profit research organizationfocussing on environmental sciences. Our scientists combine analysis of satellite images of theEarth with field studies to measure, model, and map changes in the world’s ecosystems, fromthe thawing permafrost in the Arctic to the expanding agriculture regions of the tropics. We worklocally and regionally, with in-depth expertise and collaborations in North and South America andAfrica; and we also work globally, focussing on how humans are changing global cycles of carbon,nitrogen, and water. We merge natural science with economics to discover sustainable paths forhuman prosperity and stewardship of the Earth’s natural resources.Our mission is to advance scientific discovery and seek science-based solutions for the world’senvironmental and economic challenges through research and education on forests, soils, air,and water.Our vision is a world in which the insights of science guide management of the Earth’s naturalresources, so that we and future generations may sustain prosperous and fulfilling lives withoutdegrading the ecosystems that support humanity and a diverse abundance of life.Program Director: Nadine Laporte, PhD Program Coordinator: Tina Cormier, MS Editors: Tina Cormier and Beth Bagley Design: Ian Vorster, Director of Communications and Denise Kergo, Web Developer