The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLII-3/W11
14 Feb 2020
 | 14 Feb 2020


P. Watt, P. Bholanath, N. Dewnath, T. Smartt, C. Chan, and D. Donoghue

Keywords: Guyana, MRVS, Satellite Imagery, Forest Change Monitoring , REDD+, Data Interoperability, Data Agnostic Systems, Earth Observation

Abstract. In 2010 Guyana started work on the development of a national Monitoring Reporting and Verification System (MRVs) to quantify and measure the changes in the country’s forest cover carbon and carbon emissions. A necessary part of this process involved the identification of reliable Earth Observation data of sufficient resolution to detect and quantify land use change in Guyana's forests. Over the past 10 years the MRVs has evaluated and integrated many data streams used to; map national-scale forest change, support the analysis, and importantly datasets suitable to determine the accuracy of the change area mapped. Guyana’s approach has evolved over time, to accommodate new technologies, but at its core the MRVs recognises the importance of local management, existing datasets and linking these elements to appropriate EO data such as Landsat, RapidEye, Sentinel, Planet Scope and very high spatial resolution aerial imagery. From the outset the MRVs development was divided into phases. This approach recognises that not all MRVs reporting functions can be satisfied immediately. For Phase 1 (Years 2010 to 2014) of the MRVS, historical change analysis was conducted using Landsat 30 m resolution imagery. Being a persistently cloudy country alternative EO data sources were included, with Landsat and DMC imagery largely superseded by 5 m resolution RapidEye imagery. After five years of monitoring the forest change baselines, methods, reporting processes and standard operating procedures had been well established and able to provide the required performance-based indicators. The focus of MRVs phase 2 (Years 2015 to 2019) was to retain the reporting standards already achieved while also streamlining processes, improving functionality and reducing operational costs (i.e. the reliance on commercial image data) post-2019. Process improvements and operational research targeted two areas; the feasibility of using freely available Landsat and 10 metre resolution Sentinel data to map countrywide deforestation, and development of a sample-based approach to estimate degradation from aerial imagery and Planet Scope (3–5 metres resolution). Guyana’s move to integrate multiple data streams has been driven by the need for higher temporal resolution, repeated monitoring, and the creation of a data agnostic system to supports multiple decision-making processes on forest management. While the originally the MRVs was intended to support REDD+ reporting, the flexibility of the system design has meant it is proving to be invaluable tool for natural resources management in Guyana.