Supporting REDD+ Activities and National Forest Inventories with Copernicus Satellite Data in Central and East Africa

Short Description

Problem and Motivation

To protect forests and reduce deforestation and forest degradation, the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has initiated the "Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation" (REDD+) programme.

The REDD+ approach requires assessment of historical forest reference levels and continuous deforestation/degradation mapping for reporting. Earth Observation (EO) technologies are useful to map forests. But up to now, only very few forest monitoring systems are tailored specifically to REDD+ requirements due to limitations in data availability, sensor resolutions and the technical capacities in developing countries.

Forest degradation, a major driver of carbon emissions, is not tackled at all. The temporal, spectral and spatial characteristics of the Sentinel satellites offer new possibilities for REDD+ monitoring that are intended to be exploited in the REACTIFI project.


The goal of the REACTIFI project is the development of a web-based forest inventory (FI) service tailored to REDD+ Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) in Central and East Africa. The service provides information about forest status, deforestation and degradation. It is based primarily on Copernicus satellite data, in combination with airborne LiDAR -data and terrestrial data. It will allow practitioners, forest managers and administration to explore relevant EO data and derived REDD+ products for their areas of interest and to use that data for FI and REDD+ activities.


REACTIFI integrates different data sources in a multi-scale geographic information system. Sentinel-1 &-2 data are used to create map products on forest status and forest change with a dedicated focus on forest degradation. With Pléiades stereo data we will support the training and validation of Sentinel methods and the classification LU/LC types in agroforestry regions).

By combining optical, radar and stereo data, we will map relevant parameters for REDD+ MRV (LU/LC, forest type and structure, emission factors). By combining LiDAR and terrestrial data, biomass models are derived, which are then extrapolated to the entire region of interest by means of Sentinel data.

The web-based service will highlight potentially harmful changes and hot spots of deforestation and degradation. Technologically, the proposed web service will be a versatile solution, built and tested to run on Copernicus DIAS, as front- and back-end component as an extension to Open Foris / SEPAL, as well as on-premise (e.g. self-hosted compute and storage infrastructure).


With respect to FI and REDD+ monitoring in Central and East Africa, Uganda is a pioneer in the region. The availability of high quality forest inventory data makes Uganda an ideal country for developing, testing and benchmarking REDD+ products.

REACTIFI will build on this potential and extend Uganda's capacity, so that subsequently, a rollout to technically less advanced countries can be performed. There is a strong motivation present in the regional stakeholders, as evident from their letters of support, and they will be integrated along with their local knowledge and existing inventory. quality of the project

Project Partners


Cloudflight Austria GmbH

Project partner

JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH

Contact Address

Cloudflight Austria GmbH
Huemerstraße 23
A-4020 Linz