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Remote Sensing of Land Indicators for Sustainable Development Goal 15

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a series of 17 goals set to end global poverty and protect the planet, with the aim of achieving successes by 2030. The SDGs cover topics from global health, climate change, economic inequality, sustainability, poverty, and more. This training will focus on addressing SDG 15, whose focus is to “protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.”

In this webinar, participants will learn how to access and apply satellite data relevant to land indicators, such as estimating total forest area and forest change. The webinar will include an overview of the SDGs, as well as an introduction to image classification and change detection. 

Learning Objectives: 

By the end of this training, attendees will:

  • Describe the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 15

  • Acquire satellite observations of land cover used to assess SDG indicators 15.1.1 and 15.3.1

  • Develop a basic understanding of image classification and change detection

Course Format: 
  • Three one-hour sessions

Regional, state, federal, and international organizations interested in addressing monitoring requirements for the SDGs through the use of remote sensing. Professional 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 SDG 15

Presentation Slides (English) »
Presentation Slides (Spanish) »
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  • Introduction to the Sustainable Goals Framework
    • Overview of SDG 15
    • International Institute for Sustainable Development’s (IISD’s) SDG Knowledge Hub
    • Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and the SDGs
  • State of the World’s Forests
  • Introduction to the role of land-based remote sensing for targets and indicators
  • Remote sensing data sources for assessment of land cover
    • Landsat
    • MODIS
    • VIIRS
    • Sentinel
Session Two: SDG Target 15.1

​Presentation Slides (English) »
Presentation Slides (Spanish) »
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  • Overview of Target 15.1 and Indicator 15.1.1 
  • Overview of data portals and web-based tools for visualizing and acquiring land data
    • Global Forest Watch (GFW)
    • The Forest Land Use Data Explorer (FLUDE)
    • European Space Agency Global Land Cover Map
    • MODIS Landcover
  • Overview of image classification
  • Demo: Downloading MODIS data
Session Three: SDG Target 15.3

Presentation Slides (English) »
Homework Assignment (English) » 
Presentation Slides (Spanish) »
Homework Assignment (Spanish) » 
View the recording »

  • Overview of Target 15.3 and Indicator 15.3.1
  • Introduction to United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
  • Overview of change detection
    • Supervised land cover classification
  • Demo: Global Forest Watch (GFW)
Application Area: 
Available Languages: