GFOI Space Data Blog

Published by the LSI-VC Forests & Biomass Subgroup

This page has been established by CEOS to help inform the GFOI community and the practitioners supporting the various national forest monitoring systems as to the availability of data, products, and tools for their work. As we become aware of developments of relevance, the news will be posted here for reference of the GFOI community, and propagated through the GFOI Capacity Building component and its various workshops.

We hope that the news items below are of value to GFOI countries. Click the links to visit the agency resources and for further information.

23 Jan 2020 

JAXA-FAO Agreement on Data Utilisation of Earth Observation Satellitesfao-sepal

Source/Credit: JAXA

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has agreed to collaborate with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on data utilisation of Earth observation satellites, and Imai Ryoichi, JAXA Vice President and Daniel Gustafson, FAO’s Deputy Director-General for Programmes signed a Memorandum of Understanding at JAXA Tsukuba Space Center on January 23, 2020.

Leveraging this cooperation, JAXA and FAO will be monitoring forests and mangroves around the world using JAXA’s satellites with L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR).

Only JAXA has observed forests using L-band radar (SAR) technology since 1992. Observation data of global forests that JAXA has been accumulating for over 25 years will be provided to the System for Earth Observation Data Access, Processing and Analysis for Land Monitoring (SEPAL) – FAO’s toolkit for monitoring forest and land-use. Additionally, this cooperation will help JAXA improve the accuracy of its satellite data.

SEPAL offers anyone easy-to-use access to satellite data and supercomputing power, allowing them to create critical forest and land cover information in their efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. It is now used in 160 countries.

Thanks to this cooperation, available data on SEPAL will be expanded, and users will be able to access JAXA’s forest observation information and satellite data. Since satellite radar has the capability to provide information on forest and mangroves in areas where optical satellites are impeded by weather (rain and clouds) or lack of sunlight, much improved capability is expected.

JAXA will continue its forest observations using its satellites in cooperation with various users around the world, and will provide satellite data widely as scientific evidence to support decision-making on forest management. With these efforts, JAXA hopes to contribute to the achievement of the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Press Release

27 Dec 2019

2018 PALSAR-2 Global Mosaic Released

Source/Credit: JAXA

The global 25m resolution PALSAR/PALSAR-2 mosaics are a seamless global SAR image created by mosaicking the images of SAR backscatter coefficients measured by PALSAR/PALSAR-2, where all the strip data within 10×10 degrees in latitude and longitude are path-processed and mosaicked for the sake of processing efficiency. The size of one pixel is approximately 25×25 metres.

The global forest/non-forest map (FNF) is generated by classifying the backscattering intensity values in the global 25m resolution PALSAR/PALSAR-2 mosaic so that strong and low backscatter in HV-polarisation are classified “forest” (coloured in green) and “non-forest” (coloured in yellow), respectively.


The 2018 Global 25m PALSAR-2 Mosaics have now been released. The mosaics have been processed with an updated software version to provide improved geolocation and radiometric terrain correction. Reprocessing of all historical global mosaics will follow in 2020.

The mosaics are available for public download at:

06 Dec 2019

New Biomass Map to Take Stock of the World’s Carbon

Source/Credit: ESA

ESA’s Climate Change Initiative has released the first of a series of global maps aimed at quantifying change in carbon stored as biomass across the world’s forests and shrublands.


The new map uses optical, lidar and radar data acquired in 2017 and 2018 from multiple Earth observation satellites and is the first to integrate multiple acquisitions from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission and Japan’s ALOS mission.

The next step for the research team is to develop a map covering the 2018-19 period and to quantify changes between years.

The map was released at the occasion of the COP25 meeting in December 2019 and is freely available from the Climate Change Initiative’s Open Data Portal.

Tracking biomass change is increasingly important as decision-makers work towards the Global Stocktake – an aspect of the global Paris climate deal – that will periodically check international progress towards meeting emissions reduction commitments to limit global warming.


Original Story

ESA Climate Change Initiative Programme

Climate Change Initiative’s Open Data Portal