REDDAF - Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in Africa: Improved Forest Monitoring Services in Developing Countries

REDDAF is a Collaborative Project within the Seventh Framework Programme, Theme 9, Space Call 2, FP7-SPACE-2009-1, SPA.2010.1.1.04: Stimulating the Development of GMES Services in Specific Areas.

The Project is implemented by the Space Research Unit of the Research Executive Agency – REA. The Project starts in January 2011 with a duration of 36 months.

Brief Project Description

The REDDAF Project aims to develop pre-operational forest monitoring services in two Congo Basin countries that are engaged in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) and which are also actively involved in the REDD policy process. The national REDD processes both in Cameroon and Central African Republic (CAR) require such services and will actively participate in project implementation. The project starts with initial assessments of country specific user requirements to identify the needs of stakeholders in terms of instituting REDD projects. Based on these national frame conditions research and development of methods for improved EO/ in-situ data applications to estimate areal extent of deforestation and forest degradation as well as biomass per unit area will be undertaken. The results of these research efforts will lead to the development of pre-operational processing chains. Specific Technology Transfer/Capacity Building activities to the country ensure that project results, methodologies and lessons learned are provided in a manner to best support the work of national and regional counterparts.

Expected Scientific and Technological Results

The research activities of REDDAF will include an assessment of different sensor types to optimise the production process. It is planned to use sensors such as ALOS-PALSAR and TerraSAR. In this context REDDAF will follow closely the evolution and development of the future sensors that have the potential to be utilised for global REDD services and provide an important scientific contribution to the technology and the policy process. REDDAF requirements in terms of image data from sensors include the ability to cover large areas at high resolution. Thus the GMES Sentinel and ESA BIOMASS sensors will prove optimal, as:

  • Sentinel 2 with 300km swath, 10m resolution in VNIR and availability of MIR is ideal for the monitoring of forest cover and degradation.
  • Sentinel 1 can contribute to fill in gaps in optical image coverage thanks to polarimatric radar imaging capabilities, large swath (up to 700km) and high spatial resolution (5-25m).
  • ESA BIOMASS Earth Explorer mission with first spaceborne P band satellite will be essential for the monitoring of forest biomass.

User Involvement

The user community will be involved in various aspects of the Tasks and activities from the User Requirements, to Service Delivery, Validation as well as Dissemination and Training. This involvement was outlined in Service Level Agreements and thus the user community is aware before the implementation of their main activities as follows:

  • The User agrees to fully participate in the assessment/consolidation of user requirements.
  • The User agrees to integrate the service within his operational mandate as far as practically possible.
  • The User agrees to fully participate in the assessment of the utility of the service.
  • The User will support the planned field campaigns with any resources and technical input available to them


Coordinated by


The project will be developed and coordinated along five main Tasks:

REDDAFRequirements - The Project will start with collecting the functional requirements for the REDDAF service developments, building an optimal trade-off between the REDD policy requirements, operational user needs and technology constraints. These will result in a System Architecture Requirements Milestone which will be the guideline for the next Tasks.

    REDDAFResearch/Methods Development – Based on the requirements from Task 1, several research topics such as improving the land use and forest change mapping in cloudy areas by utilising multi-sensor and multi-resolution techniques, improving degradation mapping and investigating direct biomass assessments with SAR data will be addressed. Additionally, methods will be developed to factor out anthropogenic degradation which is required for the policy reporting process. The research group is testing the new methodologies in prototype areas in both countries and having a dialogue and feed-back mechanism with the service provider group. The Research results in a Methods Approval Milestone which will be the basis of the next Tasks.

      REDDAFService Development and Integration – The results of the previous Tasks will develop an end-to-end REDD service system. The architectural design of this system comprises technical, institutional and organisational components. For the technical components the Partners are testing and integrating the research results into pre-operational processing chains and demonstrating the improved product generation in the test site in CAR as well as the mapping of gaps in the test site in Cameroon. For the institutional components the Partners will support the Users in setting up the relevant organisational structures for the implementation of services and provide a synthesis estimation of costs and human and infrastructure resources for the sustainability of the EO based REDD services. A special workpackage will be dedicated to the definition of a sound Validation Plan which is covering an end-to-end verification and Quality Assurance of all service components and will be the guideline for an external Validation. In-situ data collection in the field is necessary to provide reference information for the classes to be mapped and to provide precise biomass figures in order to complement the mapping component. Both, field referencing and biomass sampling inventory will be organised and performed with local counterparts. In order to integrate the service into the user environment a REDD User geo-database will be developed by the local counterparts in CAR.

        REDDAFValidation and Proof of Concept - After REDDAF is tested, demonstrated and integrated, several activities for the validation will be implemented: the user community in both CAR and Cameroon will perform a comprehensive utility assessment of the REDD services; additionally an independent level of validation will be performed which guarantees a distinct quality level of all services and products offered by the consortium.

          REDDAFDissemination and Training – This Task transfers the technology to the user community as well as disseminating the project results to a wider external audience. Capacity building activities within the stakeholder community will ensure that the services can be fully integrated into the user environment. Both, dissemination and capacity building shall ensure sustainability of the services in the countries as well as developing any new services in the Congo region.


          The REDDAF Project will provide improved methodologies for the generation of EO- and in-situ based geo-products for developing countries which are involved in the REDD policy process. The products will comprise of deforestation and forest degradation maps with associated carbon stocks and changes which fill the currently identified technical gaps. Therefore, the Project will develop pre-operational service chains which will enable the services and products to be provided at a national scale. The REDDAF project will contribute to the scientific and conceptual understanding of the technical challenges, whilst taking note of the most recent developments in the scientific and policy communities. Associated capacity building and technology transfer activities within the stakeholder community will ensure that the services can be fully integrated into the user environment.


          An important aspect of the REDDAF project is the need to have professional expertise in the consortium which combines knowledge on the REDD policy process with the EO technology specific to forest monitoring in Africa. This consortium has both the experience and credentials to effectively provide this combination.

          Expert Consultants

          Service Provider

          User Organisations - National Focal Points for UNFCCC

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            Dr. Joseph Armathé Amougou - Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection (MINEP)
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            Mr. Igor TOLA KOGADOU - Ministere de l' Environnement et de l'Ecologie (MEE)