REDD Pilot Project Cameroon


Key achievements of the REDD Cameroon Pilot Project (2008 - 2010)

The general objective of the project was to address methodological issues in the application of Earth Observation (EO) for deforestation and forest degradation assessment in Cameroon, as well as the implementation of a terrestrial survey for carbon accounting in forest management areas. The project encouraged a south-south cooperation by applying experiences obtained in deforestation monitoring and carbon stock accounting in Bolivia to Cameroon. Technology transfer in the project was undertaken via capacity building of local counterparts. Throughout the implementation of the project the main guidelines for provision of the technical activities was based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Good Practice Guidance (GPG) of 2006, as recommended in the SBSTA and COP meetings.

Monitoring and Mapping Forest Cover Change

The issues of deforestation and degradation are central to the REDD process, and were a key focus of the REDD Pilot Project in Cameroon.  The overall aim of the deforestation mapping activity for the REDD Pilot in Cameroon was to develop and test cost effective methods for continuous forest cover and forest cover change monitoring in a future REDD framework. To attain these objectives, forest cover was assessed using available optical satellite imagery in a wall-to-wall analysis for three epochs:1990, 2000, and 2005. Landsat TM/ETM (1990 and 2000, 2005) and Disaster Monitoring Constellation-DMC (2005) satellite images were pre-processed and cloud cover contamination for each epoch detected.  Supplementary data were used to achieve cloud free wall-to-wall coverages.

A minimum mapping unit of 5 hectares was applied due to time and cost constraints, and in the absence of a national forest definition for the REDD process, a minimum crown cover threshold of 10% was used  in accordance with IPCC guidelines . A multi-temporal segmentation approach was the basis of the classification of the images into forest/non-forest for each time series and the detection of change for the periods 1990-2000 and 2000-2005. The change areas had been further classified into the 5 IPCC compliant land cover classes: cropland, grassland, wetland, settlement and others.

Carbon Emission Accounting

The NGO Fundacion Amigos de la Naturaleza (FAN) from Bolivia collaborated with MINEP and GAF in implementing technical activities for Carbon Accounting in the REDD Pilot. FAN had been a lead co-ordinator in the internationally known Noel Kempff Mercado Climate Action Project in Bolivia which is the worlds first certified REDD activity. The carbon monitoring and verification protocols for the Noel Kempff project that was implemented in Bolivia (BROWN ET AL. 2003) were adapted for the REDD Cameroon pilot project. As Stratification of the forest into areas with similar carbon characteristics improves the accuracy of carbon accounting, this was implemented using Tier 1 and Tier 2 datasets for Cameroon. Based on these protocols a study was carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection (MINEP) and the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF) to assess biomass and carbon impacts by selective logging in different forest management systems. The most predominant forest management system – so-called FMU was selected and in order to ascertain good forest practice a certified FMU was compared with an uncertified FMU in the same stratum: closed evergreen lowland forests.

67 carbon impact zone (CIZ) plots were installed and measured in the logging gaps of a recently harvested forest   of the Pallisco Forest Concession. To estimate carbon stocks in mature forests, 67 paired (or witness) plots were installed and measured at 50 m from the CIZ plots. To measure the impact of logging roads, skid trails, and log landings on carbon stocks, their surface areas were measured.

Similar measurements were performed on the site of an uncertified forest concession (SCTB) to assess the impact of wood extraction. A total of 78 Carbon Impact Zone (CIZ), 15 circular plots, logging roads, and skid trails were measured.

Mean biomass stock in closed evergreen lowland forest was 326.12 tC/ha and therefore higher than biomass stock estimates in the Congo and Bolivia, due to the higher number of trees per plot and the greater average tree diameter in Cameroon. Carbon impacts by logging were estimated at a damage factor of 1.34 tC in the certified forest concession while in the uncertified forest concession the damage factor was estimated at 1.99 tC. The results indicate that collateral damage due to wood extraction is higher in the uncertified FMU than in the certified FMU. Increasing (expanding) forest certification will lead to significant reductions in carbon impacts and consequently emissions.

Capacity Building and Technology Transfer

The technology transfer in the project was undertaken via capacity building of the principal stakeholders (MINEP and MINFOF) in both satellite based forest cover/forest cover change mapping, and carbon accounting in the scope of REDD. The target group constituted technicians from both Ministries and whenever possible academic institutions and NGOs were involved. Training was organized through on-the job training; workshops, seminars and meetings. Concurrent to the theory training, field missions were organized to train staff on the acquisition of ground truth data for image interpretation and validation of image interpretation results; as well training on biomass measurements also constituted a central theme in the capacity building training in the REDD Cameroon pilot project.

General Description


The Bali Action Plan of 2007 encouraged Parties to develop pilot projects to assess the feasibility of a potential REDD mechanism. It is based on this that under the auspices of the European Space Agency (ESA) and in the framework of GMES Service Element on Forest Monitoring a pilot project was developed for REDD implementation and testing in Cameroon with user consultation and endorsement in 2007. The initial phase of the project was limited to a user needs and requirements analysis, and forest cover and forest cover change monitoring using remote sensing technology. The project later benefited from support from the German Development Bank (KfW) and the German Technical Corporation (GTZ) and thus expanded its activities to incorporate field based assessments of carbon stocks and capacity building training on greenhouse gas accounting. The duration of the KfW financed extension comprises 2 years and lasts from October 2008 to September 2010.

Objective and Activities

The general objective of the pilot project consists of establishing a pre-operational system for carbon accounting within the REDD framework and support the REDD readiness process. Specific objectives include: creating a platform to strengthen dialogue between key stakeholders; identify opportunities for national incentive schemes; detect and assess forest cover and forest cover change; develop tools to establish baseline projections of deforestation and forest degradation; strengthen national capacity on carbon stock accounting; and foster international exchange (south-south corporation) between Cameroon and Bolivia.

Based on the objectives of the project the following key building blocks are discerned:

  • Stakeholder Analysis & Institutional Arrangements
    • Identification and consultation with key stakeholders of the REDD process
    • Establishment of a project steering committee which would later serve as a forum for the establishment of a national REDD steering committee
    • Elaboration of a National REDD coordination architecture
    • Awareness raising of key stakeholders on the REDD process
  • Deforestation and Degradation Mapping
    • Mapping of the national forest area and forest cover change (1990-2000-2005) based on remote sensing analysis
    • Spatial projection of deforestation
    • Mapping of degradation hotspots within forest management units
  • Carbon Emission Accounting
    • Establishment of a protocol for biomass accounting based on field inventories
    • Forest stratification using tier 2 and tier 3 datasets
    • Assessment of carbon stock per hectare and estimation of damage factor due to timber exploitation
    • Econometric Modeling to obtain projections of future timber harvesting levels for different degradation classes and their corresponding future GHG net emissions
  • Capacity Building on Carbon Monitoring
    • Assessment of institutional and organizational capacities for carbon monitoring
    • Assessment of infrastructural and human capacities for carbon monitoring
    • Elaboration of a capacity building strategy for carbon monitoring
    • Development of capacity building modules on forest cover mapping and biomass assessment

Project Partners

Expert Consultants


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Research Partners

Service Provider

User Organisations

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    Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF), Cameroon
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    Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection (MINEP) (Cameroon)