A Method for Integrating MODIS and Landsat Data for Systematic Monitoring of Forest Cover and Change in the Congo Basin

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In this paper we demonstrate a new approach that uses regional/continental MODIS (MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) derived forest cover products to calibrate Landsat data for exhaustive high spatial resolution mapping of forest cover and clearing in the Congo River Basin. The approach employs multi-temporal Landsat acquisitions to account for cloud cover, a primary limiting factor in humid tropical forest mapping. A Basin-wide MODIS 250 m Vegetation Continuous Field (VCF) percent tree cover product is used as a regionally consistent reference data set to train Landsat imagery. The approach is automated and greatly shortens mapping time. Results for approximately one third of the Congo Basin are shown. Derived high spatial resolution forest change estimates indicate that less than 1% of the forests were cleared from 1990 to 2000. However, forest clearing is spatially pervasive and fragmented in the landscapes studied to date, with implications for sustaining the region's biodiversity. The forest cover and change data are being used by the Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE) program to study deforestation and biodiversity loss in the Congo Basin forest zone.

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Remote Sensing of Environment



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