Seminars & webinars
7 November, 2017

ICCG Webinar on “Tropical forests: a new approach to measuring carbon density” – Think Tank Award Webinar

Where: Online webinar

Event's Timetable:

h. 15.00 Webinar


Registration is required. Please confirm your participation HERE.


Wayne Walker, Associate Scientist, Woods Hole Research Center – WHRC

Dr. Wayne Walker is an ecologist and remote sensing specialist interested in applications of satellite imagery to the assessment and monitoring of temperate and tropical ecosystems at regional to global scales. His research focuses on measuring and mapping forest structural attributes, land cover/land use change and terrestrial carbon stocks in support of habitat management, ecosystem conservation and carbon-cycle science. He is committed to building institutional capacity in the tools and techniques used to measure and monitor forests, working in collaboration with governments, NGOs and indigenous communities across the tropics. Walker holds degrees in forest ecology (M.S.) and remote sensing (Ph.D.) from the University of Michigan.

Introduced by
Carlo Carraro - FEEM, ICCG Director
Marinella Davide - FEEM, ICCG


A revolutionary new approach to measuring changes in forest carbon density has helped scientists determine that the tropical forest regions now emit more carbon than they capture, due to extensive deforestation and degradation.

The landmark paper, “Tropical forests are a net carbon source based on aboveground measurements of gain and loss”, was published online in the October issue of the journal Science.

Dr. Wayne Walker will discuss the paper – as well as the process and implications of this new forest monitoring technology. The lead author on the paper was Alesandro Baccini, also a scientist at the Wood Hole Research Center.

Using 12 years (2003-2014) of satellite imagery, laser remote sensing technology and field measurements, Baccini and his team were able to capture losses in forest carbon from wholesale deforestation as well as from more difficult-to-measure fine-scale degradation and disturbance, which has previously proven a challenge to the scientific community over large areas.

While it can be a challenge to map the forests that have been completely lost, it’s even more difficult to measure small and more subtle losses of forest. In many cases throughout the tropics, forest loss is a result of selective logging, or smallholder farmers removing individual trees for fuel wood. These losses can be relatively small in any one place, but added up across large areas they become considerable.

The technology can help countries quantify changes in their forest carbon stocks – especially in the context of Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement. It can also be used to provide more certainty to carbon-offset markets.
Download file
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Tropical forests: a new approach to measuring carbon density

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