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Remote Sensing of Forest Cover and Change Assessment for Carbon Monitoring

Egmont National Park, New Zealand, Landsat 8
1:00-2:30 p.m. and 10:00-11:30 p.m. EDT (UTC-4)

In this introductory webinar, participants are provided with an overview of carbon monitoring for terrestrial ecosystems. This includes background information about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventories, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and development of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) program. This course reviews products from Landsat, MODIS, and Sentinel, and other sensors commonly used for land management applications.

This course also provides information about carbon estimation techniques, and conducting accuracy assessments on these estimates. Therea are demonstrations of tools for carbon monitoring, such as NASA’s Carbon Mapper. Finally, guidance on reporting and verification of carbon estimates and the larger role of carbon markets are discussed, as well as additional guidance on resources available to participants. 

Learning Objectives: 

Participants will gain a basic understanding of carbon monitoring and estimation, its global importance, and learn to acquire and use remote sensing imagery, including:

  • Techniques for estimating carbon
  • Developing accuracy assessments
  • Reporting and verifying carbon estimates
Course Format: 
  • Five 1.5 hour sessions
  • Introductory webinar
  • Weekly homework assignments

Complete the on-demand Fundamentals of Remote Sensing webinars, Sessions 1 and 2A, or equivalent.


Local, regional, state, federal and international organizations interested in assessing and reporting carbon estimates using satellite imagery.

Governmental and non-governmental organizations in the public and private sectors engaged in environmental management and monitoring will be given preference over organizations focused primarily on research.

Course Agenda: 
Session One: Overview of Carbon Monitoring for Terrestrial Ecosystems

An overview of policy on carbon monitoring, importance of forest monitoring (IPCC Greenhouse Gas Inventories and REDD+), performing a key category analysis, and elements of National Forest Monitoring Systems (NFMS). View the recording »

Session Two: Sensors and Products Available for Terrestrial Ecosystems

An overview of available satellite sensors and products available to monitor terrestrial ecosystems, pre-processing imagery requirements, image classification and change detection, considerations for NFMS sustainability, and a demonstration of NASA's Carbon Mapper. View the recording »

Session Three: Carbon Estimation Techniques and Methods

Designing a field campaign to collect carbon pool information, ground data collection and use in estimating carbon pools, the use of remote sensing in supporting the National Forest Inventory, and how to derive carbon emissions. View the recording »

Session Four: Accuracy Assessment

Developing an accuracy assessment, calculating accuracy statistics, and a demonstration of the Boston Education in Earth Observation Data Analysis (BEEODA) tools. View the recording »

Session Five: Guidance, Reporting, and Verification

An overview of guidance resources (methods and guidance documentation (MGD), REDDCompass, and GOFC-GOLD SourceBook) and reporting and future perspectives, including the role of carbon markets and carbon emission reporting from the forest sector. View the recording »

Application Area: 
Available Languages: