4:15 PM - 4:30 PM
[HGG01-04] Tracking and characterizing human impacts in tropical forests: Can Landsat go it alone?
Keywords: Landsat, time series, tropical forests, SAR, deforestation, participatory monitoring
Here, we show that while LTS provide unprecedented detail in forest change studies, specific monitoring objectives in tropical forests call for the integration of LTS with other data sources. To demonstrate this need, we focus on two monitoring targets: (1) the timely detection of changes and (2) characterization of change dynamics over time. First, given that many tropical regions experience perpetual cloud-cover, generating large temporal gaps in LTS, recent research has shown that fusion of LTS with SAR data can improve the temporal accuracy of forest change alerts by up to 47 days. Fusion of LTS with the ESA-Copernicus Sentinel constellation of SAR and optical satellites thus has the potential to significantly improve the near real-time forest monitoring systems. Second, LTS-based methods face limitations when characterizing forest change processes like deforestation and forest degradation. Recent results integrating forest observations from community-based monitoring (CBM) project sites with LTS-based change indicators show that gradual, small-scale degradation of the forest canopy can be detected using LTS, but require regularly acquired in situ observations for adequate calibration and validation of change models. These insights show the promise of fusing LTS with other satellite data streams such as SAR image time series, as well as in situ observations and measurements, to enhance forest monitoring capabilities in the tropics to support such objectives as REDD+.