Forests cover nearly 30% of the globe’s land surfaces and are the environment on Earth where the most animal and plant species are found, more than half of them in tropical forests. It is estimated that over 1.5 billion people live from forest resources. Forests are the lungs of the planet, providing carbon sinks that play a key role in regulating climate and the water cycle.

SPOTMaps - Forest in Kenya (extract)

SPOTMaps - Marsabit, Kenya (extract)
© CNES 2004 - 2013

The ever-growing anthropogenic pressures exerted on forests are now closely monitored and regulatory frameworks are being put in place to reconcile economic growth, social development and environmental stewardship. Sustainable management of forest ecosystems is strongly encouraged and funded, for example through new monetization mechanisms like REDD+.

Satellite imagery is helping to monitor forests and above all providing vital decision-support tools for forest managers. With the expertise acquired from 25 years of supplying and analysing satellite imagery, Airbus Defence and Space offers public and private stakeholders in the forestry sector:

  • Millions of of multisource, multiresolution archive imagery for time-series analysis
  • A unique constellation of satellites able to meet the most demanding requirements, with daily revisits to any point on the globe
  • On-demand tracking and surveillance
  • Tools to process and analysis vegetation cover data for thematic mapping

Such products and services are widely used by major forest nations to:

  • Compile forest inventories (Japan, China, Guiana)
  • Meet reporting obligations under international conventions (New Zealand)
  • Keep track of forest activities (Australia, Russia)
  • Put in place government policies and forest codes (Amazonian states in Brazil)
  • Set up national MRV systems under the REDD+ framework (Congo Basin nations, Laos, Cambodia)

Airbus Defence and Space also proposes custom solutions for all stakeholders and investors in charge of planning, protecting or exploiting forests.

Congo Basin Tropical Forest Space Observatory

This project materializes the commitment made in 2009 at the Copenhagen summit to provide French satellite imagery in support of sustainable forestry management in the Congo Basin. France, through its AFD development agency, is funding with Airbus Defence and Space delivery of SPOT satellite imagery to help Central African nations lay the groundwork for the future REDD+ mechanism.

The agreement between AFD and the Geo-Intelligence programme line of Airbus Defence and Space and Space kicked off a broad initiative intended to map the entire Congo Basin, the second largest forest basin in the world.
SPOT imagery is made available to government agencies, institutes and NGOs working on sustainable forest management in the Congo Basin.
Archive and more recent imagery will serve as a baseline for the area of interest and forest maps will be derived from this imagery for certain areas.
Newly acquired data will also refresh information over time to keep track of forest cover and evaluate future REDD+ commitments.
The project has been set up by a consortium led by IGN France International in partnership with the French space agency CNES, the French survey and mapping agency IGN and the IRD development research institute.

GO Monitor Forest

Satellite Image Analysis- Fazenda in Brazil

Satellite Image Analysis- Fazenda in Brazil

GO Monitor Forest, developed jointly by Airbus Defence and Space and ONF International, is the first reliable, standardised monitoring service covering all of the world’s forests.

It is designed for public and private stakeholders in the forestry sector keen to track and control their activities, and to better understand the environment in which they operate.

GO Monitor Forest guarantees delivery of pertinent data to meet the most demanding project requirements, as well as the quality of results and interpretation of the smallest changes detected in monitored areas of interest.

Discover GO Monitor Forest


Satellite imagery serving forestry

  • Protection and management
  • Combating deforestation
  • Basemaps
  • Sustainable development