A Look at AfriGEOSS

Primrose-MathisenForest Resource Information Theme, Original, Quick Looks, Technology

GOFI logoAfriGEOSS is an initiative launched by the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), with the aim of facilitating the implementation of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) and related Earth observation activities in Africa.
The Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI) is the operational phase of the Forest Carbon Tracking project developed by the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). The objective of GFOI is to help nations develop a capacity to use Earth observation data in a credible national forest monitoring system.
The initial actions of AfriGEOSS are to:

• Engage with appropriate regional agencies and training centers
• Identify coordinated infrastructure pilot projects that promote societal benefits
• Promote data democracy and data sharing
• Organize sessions on GEO and GEOSS at premier African conferences
• Organize regional workshops.

Proposed priorities for the pilot projects are: agriculture and food security, forestry, health, water and renewable energy including biomass and solar. Examples include the Bioenergy Atlas for Africa, GEO Forest Carbon Tracking (FCT) task and the Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI), and the Meningitis Risk and Information Technology project (MERIT). The GFOI is the operational phase of the FCT project developed by the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). The objective of GFOI is to help nations develop a capacity to utilize Earth observation data within a national forest monitoring system.
Emissions from deforestation, forest degradation, and associated land use change may amount to as much as 17 percent of all global GHG emissions [1]. Since 2005, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has requested developing countries to develop a national forest monitoring system to estimate emissions and removals associated with Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). Significant national investment — much of which is underpinned by various bilateral agreements — as well as international carbon markets provide incentives to reduce deforestation, forest degradation and forest-related emissions.

From the cover of a Bioenergy Atlas for Africa brochure. Credit: GEO.

From the cover of a Bioenergy Atlas for Africa brochure. Credit: GEO.

To determine the effectiveness of reduction programs, and ultimately to moderate the effects of global climate change, national forest monitoring systems based on field- and satellite-based measurements are needed to estimate changes in a country’s forest cover and carbon stocks, and to estimate the ability to absorb atmospheric greenhouse gases.
In 2008, GEO announced a pilot demonstration project, the FCT task, to facilitate the supply and use of satellite observations of forest and land cover. Since the FCT was successful, GEO began the operational GFOI program in 2012. Three African countries – Cameroon, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo – are currently serving as national demonstrators for the FCT and GFOI projects.
To promote data democracy and sharing to improve access, AfriGEOSS will encourage collaboration between academic institutions, emphasize the development of open-source software and open systems, and strengthen the understanding of individuals and institutions of technology limitations, proper dissemination methods and relevant software tools. Sessions on GEO and GEOSS are to be arranged at key African conferences, such as those organized by the African Association of Remote Sensing for the Environment (AARSE) and AfricaGIS. In general, capacity building is to be achieved through workshops that will focus on coordinating and strengthening existing regional capacities.
See Also: Earthzine’s 2012 Forest Resource Information Theme
[1] Baltuck, M., Briggs, S., Loyche-Wilkie, M., McGee, A., Muchoney, D. & Skrøvseth, P.E. (2013) The Global Forest Observations Initiative: Fostering the use of satellite data in forest measurement, reporting and verification. Carbon Management, 4(1), 17–21.