Global Forest Resources Assessment

Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN
GIScCE, South Dakota State University



The FAO FRA Remote Sensing Survey

As part of the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010 (FRA 2010), the UNFAO and its member countries and partners will undertake a global remote sensing survey of forests. This survey will substantially improve knowledge on forest dynamics, including deforestation, afforestation and natural expansion of forests. The primary aims of the new global survey are to obtain information on the distribution of forests and on changes in forest area over time at regional, biome and global levels.

The survey has two main components:

  • Generating a new, validated global tree-cover map using time-series imagery from MODIS satellites at 250m resolution. This will be done in cooperation with South Dakota State University.
  • Gathering and analyzing the best existing global imagery (Landsat images at 30 m resolution) from 1975, 1990, 2000 and 2005 for improved estimates of forest area and forest area change. This will be done by FAO, the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in close collaboration with countries.

Selection of archival Landsat satellite images (at 30 m resolution) at more than 10,000 locations across the planet will provide a comprehensive sample of the world's land surface for 1975, 1990, 2000 and 2005. Each sample tile will cover a 10 km by 10 km square at each junction of one degree of latitude and longitude (approximately 100 km apart). Images will be processed to provide statistically reliable estimates of forest extent and change at regional, biome and global levels. The results will enable an internally consistent global assessment of forest change dynamics.



Landsat Imagery Database

This website is part of the collaboration between the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and its partners, including South Dakota State University and the United States Geological Survey's National Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS). The data staged here are a contribution to the Global Forest Resource Assessment (FRA) Remote Sensing Survey. The website provides access to the location of the sample tiles and enables the download of associated data for use in Google Earth or Geographic Information Systems. Samples of the Landsat satellite images that will be used in the study are also available for viewing and downloading.

Database Sections

Sampling Grid
A FRA 2010 RSS framework of global systematic sampling design.

Sampling Tiles Database
A database of 13,689 sampling tiles located within land surface
(excluding Antarctic). The database includes tile catalog,
location maps and auxiliary information.

Pilot Study dataset
A 400 tiles sample dataset with Landsat imagery.