Africa | Regional

Satellite Monitoring for Forest Management

Clients: World Bank

The World Bank’s new Satellite Monitoring for Forest Management (SMFM) project will develop satellite Earth Observation methods and global knowledge to address challenges related to monitoring tropical dry forest ecosystems and forest degradation assessment. This assignment provides a technical consultant team to support the World Bank task team in detailed project design, methodological development, verification project results and developing publications. It also supports national teams.

  • The work is in 3 countries, developing a methodology that will have global application to dry tropical woodlands.
  • Led by the World Bank with the European Space Agency as a partner, this is a GEF funded project.
  • LTS is working with the University of Edinburgh to provide technical support to the World Bank to develop the SMFM.
  • The assignment draws on unique and specialised LTS expertise and tools for measuring biomass change in dry tropical woodlands using L-band satellite data.
  • Based in Mozambique, Zambia and a third, to be decided, country outside of Africa.


Recent major breakthroughs in satellite Earth Observation (EO) data provision present an opportunity to address existing limitations in forest monitoring capabilities. They dramatically increase available data, and many existing satellite EO methods and tools are yet to take advantage of this increased data volume. Additionally, most existing EO forest analysis methods were developed for moist tropical forest ecosystems, thus are not applicable to dry forest landscapes, for which new satellite monitoring systems are needed.


The SMFM project will improve global knowledge and capabilities for forest degradation assessment and monitoring dry forest landscapes and support selected countries to develop their EO capacity. The LTS-led technical team is supporting the SMFM on:

  • Project planning and analysis.
  • Designing new and methods and spatial interpretation for monitoring tropical dry forest landscapes and forest degradation assessment using ALOS PALSAR and Sentinel 1&2 data.
  • Support to implementation and validation of satellite EO methods at country-level, improving national capacity.
  • Global knowledge exchange and capacity building.

Value and benefits

The new satellite EO developed for monitoring tropical dry forest landscapes through the SFMF will contribute to improved mapping of deforestation and degradation. Along with the increased national level capacities, this will enable better informed and more effective monitoring and management planning of these dry tropical woodland ecosystems which have enormous livelihood value for some of the world’s poorest people.

The outcomes will have global application in sustainable forest management, including REDD+.

Image credit to NASA

Key Staff

William Apted

Senior Consultant