Global Observations of Forest Cover and Land-use Dynamics (GOFC–GOLD) is a coordinated international program working to provide ongoing space-based and in situ observations of the land surface to support sustainable management of terrestrial resources at different scales. The GOFC–GOLD program acts as an international forum to exchange information, coordinate satellite observations, and provide a framework for and advocacy to establish long-term monitoring systems. It was established as a part of a Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) pilot project in 1997, with a focus on global observations of forest cover. Since then, the program has expanded to include two Implementation Teams: Land Cover Characteristics and Change, and Fire Mapping and Monitoring. In addition, two working groups—Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), and Biomass Monitoring—were also formed. GOFC– GOLD activities are guided by an executive committee, primarily with support from NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). In 2017, the GOFC–GOLD program celebrated its twentieth anniversary by convening a Regional Networks Summit in Tbilisi, the capital of the country Georgia.
The primary function of the Land Cover Implementation Team (LC-IT) is to develop and evaluate methods, tools and products for land cover measurements and monitoring using space-borne and in-situ observations. The LC-IT assesses current needs and deficiencies for global and regional monitoring to support Global Change research, national and regional forest inventories and international policy (i.e. through working with the UN Conventions). The LC-IT cooperates closely with other GOFC-GOLD implementation teams and regional networks worldwide. Within this framework, the ESA LC-IT Project Office helps to strengthen the GOFC-GOLD framework, to coordinate, promote and fulfil the GOFC Land Cover implementation plan, and to support the European Space Agency and related projects and services.
Specific objectives of the LC-IT project office are:
-Progress on the monitoring of land cover as Essential Climate Variable
-Contribute to the REDD+ process in particular through updating the GOFC-GOLD REDD Sourcebook
-Develop the GOFC/CEOS best practice document on accuracy assessment of land change
-Implement an online land cover accuracy assessment database and a related user information service
-Develop a sourcebook for biodiversity monitoring in tropical forest with remote sensing
-Organize GOFC-GOLD LC-IT meetings, workshops, and Symposia
-Communicate on GOFC-GOLD LC activities via scientific publications, this website, and newsletters notably
The ESA LC-IT office is led by Prof. Martin Herold (Co-chair LC-IT) jointly with David Skole (Co-chair LC-IT) from Michigan State University. The Project Office is located at the Laboratory of Geo-Information Science and Remote Sensing of the Wageningen University, the Netherlands and is funded by the European Space Agency (ESA). For more information see: http://www.gofcgold.wur.nl/
The GOFC/GOLD-Fire Mapping and Monitoring Theme is aimed at refining and articulating the international observation requirements and making the best possible use of fire products from the existing and future satellite observing systems, for fire management, policy decision-making and global change research. The main objectives of Fire Implementation Team (Fire-IT) include:
-To increase user awareness by providing an improved understanding of the utility of satellite fire products for resource management and policy within the United Nations and at regional national and local levels.
-To encourage the development and testing of standard methods for fire danger rating suited to different ecosystems and to enhance current fire early warning systems.
-To establish an operational network of fire validation sites and protocols, providing accuracy assessment for operational products and a testbed for new or enhanced products, leading to standard products of known accuracy.
-To enhance fire product use and access by developing operational multi-source fire and GIS data and making these available over the Internet.
-To develop an operational global geostationary fire network providing observations of active fires in near-real time.
-To establish operational polar orbiters with fire monitoring capability by providing i) operational moderate resolution long-term global fire products to meet user requirements and distributed ground stations providing enhanced regional products; ii) operational high resolution data acquisition allowing fire monitoring and post-fire assessments.
-To create emissions product suites, developed and implemented providing annual and near real-time emissions estimates with available input data.
The LC-IT office is led by Prof. David Roy (Co-chair Fire-IT), Michigan State University, jointly with Prof. Martin Wooster (Co-chair Fire-IT) from the Kings College, London, and Dr. Jesus Ayanz (Co-Chair Fire-IT) from the Joint Research Center, Italy. Currently, GOFC Fire-IT is closely working with Global Wildfire Information System (GWIS) team to enhance global fire research and products. For more information see: GOFC/GOLD-Fire Implementation Team
The principal role of GOFC/GOLD is to act as a coordinating mechanism for national and regional activities. To achieve its goals GOFC/GOLD has developed a number of regional networks of data providers, data brokers and data users. These networks of resource managers and scientists provide the key to sustained capability for improving the observing systems and ensuring that the data are being used effectively.
Currently active GOFC-GOLD regional netwroks.
1. Southeast Asia Regional Research and Information Network (SEARRIN)
2. South Asia GOFC Network (SAGN)
3. South Central European Regional Information Network (SCERIN)
4. Red Latinoamericana deTeledeteccion e Incendios Forestales (RedLaTIF)
5. West African Regional Network (WARN)
6. Observatoire Satellital des Forets d’Afrique Central (OSFAC)
7. Miombo Network (MIOMBO)
8. Southern Africa Fire Network (SAFNET)
9. Caucasus Regional Information Network (CaucRIN)
10. Mekong Regional Information Network (MekRIN)
11. Mediterranean Regional Network (MedRIN)
12. Central Asia Regional Information Network (CARIN)