Forest Monitoring

The vital role of forests in mitigating climate change was recognized in 2008 by the United Nations in the creation of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) program, which seeks to assign a financial value for carbon in forests. Forests were also featured in the landmark Paris climate change agreement.

treemeasuringBut without the ability to track large areas of forests, these programs are toothless. Woods Hole Research Center is a global leader in forest monitoring. Using satellite data, LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) laser systems, fieldwork, and computer simulations, WHRC scientists track deforestation, as well as forest degradation and reforestation.


Working on a global and regional scale, WHRC produces the monitoring tools and data that allow policy makers to understand the state of their forests and manage their natural resources. We assist community groups, NGOs, and nations to quantify forest carbon stocks and work with REDD countries to create effective, transparent Monitoring, and Measurement, Reporting and Verification (M and MRV) systems for their carbon stocks.


Our scientists currently have pan-tropical mapping projects, as well as country mapping projects in the US, Mexico, Brazil and Peru, and community mapping projects on smaller scales.

Toward a Global Baseline of Carbon Storage (full version  | 2-page brief)

WHRC has a global and regional forest mapping project across the tropics, as well as country mapping projects in the US, Mexico, Brazil and Peru, and community mapping projects.

Aboveground Forest Carbon Stocks in Mexico
Pantropical National Level Carbon Stock Dataset
National Biomass and Carbon Dataset 2000 (NBCD)

WHRC works with representatives of the governments of Brazil, Mexico and Peru and with indigenous communities to quantify their carbon stores.

Deforestation and Climate Change Policy Brief

Learn more about WHRC’s history of involvement in international climate policy.

WHRC seeks to make forest maps and information freely available by providing training and open access information for governments and communities to manage their forest capital.

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Rwanda Workshop 2011

Indonesia Workshop 2010

Indigenous Workshop 2010

Vietnam Workshop 2009

Uganda Workshop 2008


Environmental Defense Fund