Satellite remote sensing to strengthen quality and transparency

Transparent ForestsIndependent certification of raw materials provides manufacturers with confidence about their environmental and social integrity.

The international standard developed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) provides a globally-accepted route to forest product certification. It is a continuous challenge to make sure the forestry certification process remains efficient, effective and transparent.

The TransparentForests© feasibility study builds on previous European Space Agency-funded Earth Observation Market Development activities, in which FSC evaluated the potential for Earth Observation (EO) to provide accurate and valuable data for forest management and certification. 

Based on this experience, FSC is part of a new consortium that will design and evaluate a customized Geographic Information System (GIS)-based service that will better facilitate the certifier’s field inspection process and provide a centralized, web-accessible database with controlled access for all FSC stakeholders. It will combine accurately time-tagged optical and radar satellite imagery –at medium to high resolution – with geo-referenced, in-situ forest management data to improve transparency and stakeholder engagement.

The overall purpose of this feasibility study is to establish the user needs of FSC stakeholders and, based on this, develop the design parameters of TransparentForests. The proposed integrated software package will integrate Earth Observation (EO) and global navigation satellite system technologies for in-situ sampling and navigation within an Open Source GIS environment. Once a mock-up has been developed, FSC will be able to evaluate the technical, operational and financial viability of the package and its associated services in delivering an independent source of geo-spatial data to support better forest certification.

Key project activities during 2013:

  • First half of May – User interface webcast workshops with FSC, Accreditation Standards International, Conformity Assessment Bodies and FOs.
  • June until August – TransparentForests design.
  • August – FSC stakeholder survey of related hardware, software and data
    Details on the FSC stakeholder survey … 
  • August and September – TransparentForests mock-up shared with stakeholders to get their feedback on content and user interface, and on the its utility and value as a support tool for certification.
  • October and November – FSC will evaluate the output of TransparentForests and decide on next steps.

How to keep informed and get involved:

  • For background on the project, click here
  • Download a project outline here

Have an opinion? Let us know by contacting FSC Project Manager Tim Synnott timsynnott at point mx or Project Manager Charles Crosthwaite Eyre charles.eyre at point uk .

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