REDD pilot project in Cameroon - method development and first results

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Hirschmugl M., Schardt M., Häusler Thomas, Gomez S., Armathe J. A.

Proceedings of 28th EARSEL Symposium, Istanbul, June, 2nd – 6th 2008. , 2008


This paper describes a method for monitoring the implementation of the REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) process for a pilot project in Cameroon. A method was developed and tested in a test area in the transition zone between tropical evergreen forest and savannah in Cameroon. The method developed involved a series of processing steps which can be divided into three groups: (1) pre-processing steps including cloud masking, geometric and radiometric adjustment as well as topographic normalization; (2) forest masking including segmentation, classification and manual correction and finally (3) land cover classification including spectral signature analysis and training. The last part showed the most crucial problem encountered in this test phase: due to shifting cultivation, it is difficult to differentiate cropland in the stage, where it is left to bush fallow and natural bush land and secondary forest. The method and results were compared to similar studies already performed in Bolivia and Vanuatu and the differences are discussed. The results gained in the Cameroon test area showed, that 529.786 km² (equivalent to 3.45 % of the forested area) was deforested between 1990 and 2000, further 88.547 km² (3.44 % of the forested area) between 2000 and 2005. Further investigations will include more detailed studies on the issue of degradation and the applicability of the method for the roll-out on the whole country of Cameroon as well as on other countries in the Congo region.

Keywords: REDD, tropical forest, deforestation, land cover classification