Remote Sensing, Vol. 13, Pages 4197: Toward a More Representative Monitoring of Land-Use and Land-Cover Dynamics: The Use of a Sample-Based Assessment through Augmented Visual Interpretation Using Open Foris Collect Earth (Remote Sensing)
High-quality data for REDD+ monitoring, measurement, and reporting are critical for the continued success of REDD+ implementation and Results-Based Payments. Collect Earth is a free, user-friendly, and open-source software for land monitoring developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The tool allows countries to undertake land monitoring easily and rapidly through a sample-based approach and generate Activity Data (data on the magnitude of human activity resulting in emissions or removals during a given period of time) through augmented visual interpretation with low costs. Under the Paris Agreement, countries will have to update the greenhouse gas inventories that they report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change every two years through the Biennial Update Reports. One of the important benefits of using sample-based approaches such as the one proposed by Collect Earth is the possibility to achieve a detailed classification of the land-use sub-categories with high accuracy of the estimates for land-use changes occurring since 2000. However, most guidance documents developed for capacity building in developing countries for REDD+ reporting only advocate developing land-cover and land-cover change maps using remote sensing. As several countries already use Collect Earth and the sample-based methodology to report on REDD+, this commentary advocates for a more representative approach and a methodological debate on the potential of sample-based approaches using remote sensing, and when possible combined with ground truthing, to estimate Activity Data for REDD+ and countries` greenhouse gas inventories for the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use sector in general.