Edinburgh's Ecometrica to monitor palm oil plantations as part of tropical deforestation project

Edinburgh-based Ecometrica will lead the expansion of a UK government project aiming to tackle deforestation by monitoring forests and crop plantations in tropical climates.

Thursday, 7th November 2019, 11:45 am
Ecometrica's Sarah Middlemiss says this expansion will consolidate the Forest 2020 project's existing success. Picture: Contributed

The UK Space Agency’s Forests 2020 project, managed by satellite mapping company Ecometrica, is being extended to include more crops and an additional country.

The initiative uses advanced mapping technologies, satellite data and other insights to help protect and restore tropical forests, with the long-term goal of supporting a transition to zero-deforestation commodities. It also monitors the effectiveness of investments in forests via the International Climate Fund (ICF).

Ecometrica’s satellite mapping technology is currently being used to protect around 300 million hectares of tropical forests as part of the project.

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Forests 2020 originally involved six partner countries: Indonesia, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Ghana and Kenya.

These will now be joined by Belize, with monitoring extended beyond forest change detection to include the impacts of banana plantations, soya farms and palm oil plantations.

Space programme manager Sarah Middlemiss said: “This expansion will enable us to consolidate the success we’ve had with Forests 2020 so far, providing greater support to ICF partner countries to measure the avoided forest loss resulting from ICF-funded interventions, and ensuring that the methods and techniques we have developed alongside our partners around the world will continue for years to come.”

She added that project data is increasingly being made available to companies and private sector organisations “to monitor compliance and support commitments to ‘zero-deforestation’ commodities”.

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