Forest carbon monitoring


Thailand establishes a high‐resolution forest carbon basemap and a permanent, credible forest carbon monitoring system to go with this. User‐friendly web-based tools will allow stakeholders at all levels to be involved in this work.


We’re working with government and academic technicians in Thailand, along with international experts, to establish Thailand’s first carbon basemap. The data will then be integrated into Thailand’s formal REDD+ Forest Carbon Inventory, giving a comprehensive estimate of carbon stocks throughout the country.

Using cutting-edge technology will allow us to meet the highest level of detail and accuracy (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Tier 3).

Our approach combines data from several sources:
  • On-the-ground surveys of vegetation at sample sites. Stakeholders at every level will be able to participate in this monitoring work, for example by using a smartphone to enter data in the field which is immediately uploaded to a central data store.
  • Satellite imagery freely available from the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Comparing our estimate of current carbon stocks with Landsat images from previous years will allow us to calculate Thailand’s historic emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, against which future reductions can be measured.
  • LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) technology – an airborne sensor that bounces laser beams off the foliage in the forest and the ground below, giving a highly accurate measure of ground topography and forest height and structure. We’ve worked closely with Greg Asner from Carnegie Department of Global Ecology, Stanford University, who successfully pioneered LiDAR mapping in the Amazon. LiDAR information will make future monitoring, reporting and verification more accurate and cost-effective.
Forest carbon monitoring will be an ongoing commitment, so it’s important that people and institutions within Thailand are equipped to manage every part of it.

We’re collecting, processing and analysing all data within Thailand, in partnership with the Thai government, academics and forest communities. The Thai government will own the data, but the goal is for it to be available to regional government offices and other stakeholders.
 / ©: Carnegie Airborne Observatory
LiDAR – Light Detection And Ranging – is a laser scanning device, mounted on an aircraft, that collects data during aerial surveys to produce highly accurate 3D maps of the forest.
© Carnegie Airborne Observatory


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