About the Forests 2020 Conference

The Forests 2020 Global Conference explored the future of space technologies in monitoring and protecting tropical forests worldwide.

The Forests 2020 Conference explored the progress of the Forests 2020 project so far, including a showcase of all the exciting technologies that have been developed to fight deforestation and degradation across the tropics, and how they could be applied to forests all over the world.

With sessions on brand new innovations in drone-based LiDAR surveys, automated forest loss detection, forest fire resilience and using machine learning to generate ultra high-resolution maps, the Forests 2020 Global Plenary welcomed a who’s who of professionals with an interest in forests, earth observation, supply chain monitoring or emerging space technologies.

The Forests 2020 Conference welcomed delegates from all over the world, including our partner countries: Indonesia, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Ghana and Kenya. In each country we are working with national institutions, researchers and NGOs to improve forest monitoring at local, regional and national levels.

Only by meeting, discussing, networking, and collaborating, can we start to address and solve our greatest deforestation and forest degradation challenges.

Conference Highlights


(subject to change)

Day 1: Monday 8th April - Partner Sessions





8:45 – 9:15


9:15 – 9:30



Welcoming remarks

9:30 – 10:30

Panel Session

Forests 2020: South America

Short presentations introducing Forests 2020 work in Colombia, Mexico and Brazil followed by Q/A

10:30 – 11:00

Tea/Coffee Break

11:00 – 11:40

Panel Session

Forests 2020: Africa

Short presentations introducing Forests 2020 work in Kenya and Ghana followed by Q/A

11:40 – 12:00

Panel Session

Forests 2020: Indonesia

A short presentation introducing Forests 2020 work in Indonesia followed by Q/A

12:00 – 13:00



13:00 – 14:30

Breakout Sessions

Deforestation Free Commodities

Presentation and discussion about monitoring deforestation-free commodities including palm oil, avocados and cocoa.

Breakout Sessions

Alert Systems and Community Governance

Presentations and discussion about forest alert systems such as Forest Sentinel, Forest Link, near time forest alerts in Indonesia and involving communities in forest monitoring in Africa and Mexico.

14:30 – 15:00

Tea/Coffee Break

15:00 – 17:00

Breakout Sessions

Change Detection Part 1

Presentations and discussion about change detection using Sentinels 1 and 2 and their potential to be translated into carbon emissions information sources through platforms.

Deforestation & Fire Risk Mapping

Presentations and discussions on deforestation risk mapping and fire risk mapping methods.

Day 2: Tuesday 9th April - Partner Sessions





9:00 – 9:30


9:30 – 10:30

Panel Session

Forests 2020 Sustainability Workshop

Presentation on Sustainability from Caribou Digital followed by a panel discussion

10:30 – 11:00

Tea/Coffee Break

11:00 – 13:00

Breakout Sessions

Segregation, Classification and Digital Infrastructure

Presentations and discussion on innovative remote sensing techniques for land classification using a variety of sensors and platforms.

Restoration, Carbon & Biomass Mapping

Presentations and discussions on above ground biomass estimation in the Brazilian Cerrado, Yucatan Peninsula, using LiDAR, terrestrial laser scanning and ground plots, forest biomass modelling, DALEC and carbon modelling in the Brazilian Cerrado.

Change Detection Part 2

Presentations and discussion about monitoring forest loss using Sentinel 1 and accuracy assessment of methods.

13:00 – 14:00


14:00 – 15:00

Panel Session

Breakout Session Feedback

Reflective session where chairs will feed back findings from the breakout sessions.

15:00 – 16:00


Forests 2020 Forward Look

An overview of the next year of Forests 2020 including key activities, achieving sustainability and preparation for the Forests 2020 Global Plenary.

17:00 – 19:00

Social Event

Drinks Reception


Day 3: Wednesday 10th April - Forests 2020 Plenary





8:40 – 9:00


9:00 – 9:05

Welcoming Remarks

Dr. Richard Tipper, Ecometrica

9:05 – 9:30


Prof. Iain Woodhouse

Session 1: National Scale Mapping and International Reporting

9:30 – 10:40

Session 1

Prof. Heiko Baltzer, Prof. Lilik Prasetyo, Mtra. Carmen Meneses, Prof. Jean Ometto

This session will look at collaborations between Earth Observation experts from the UK and Forests 2020 partner countries. Topics include aligning state and national level mapping in Mexico, supporting international reporting across different biomes in Brazil and moving from a manual to digital interpretation process for producing land use change maps in Indonesia.

10:40 – 11:00


Session 2: Deforestation Free Commodities and Supply Chains

11:00 – 12:15

Session 2

Dr. Yakubu Mohammed, Prof Iain Woodhouse, Dr. Dimitrios Michelakis, M en C. Edersson Cabrera

Deforestation free commodities and supply chain management is is key to low carbon development, and there are multple use cases within Forests 2020. This session will cover look at how Forests 2020 partners are supporting the monitoring of suppliy chains for various commodities, such as cocoa, palm and soy.

12:15 – 13:30


EO Lab Competition Screens

During a buffet lunch there will be an exhibition where partners will be demonstrating their EO Lab Applications including interesting data about forest change, deforestation risk and restoration. They will be able to answer specific questions you have about their work.

13:30 – 13:45

EO Lab Award Winner Announcement

Dr. Richard Tipper

Ecometrica prize giving for EO Lab Award Winner.

Session 3: Forest Risk and Restoration 

13:45 – 15:00

Session 3

Prof. Mat Williams, Jamleck Ndambiri, Dr. Ane Alencar, Dr. Tom Blomley

Understanding where forest is most at risk, and which areas are most suitable for restoration is a key factor in informing interventions and ensuring investments in forestry policy and programmes is effective and efficient. This session presents pioneering work on forest risk and restoration modelling from the University of Edinburgh and explores its application, progress and challenges in Kenya and Colombia.

15:00 – 15:30


15:30 – 15:50

Closing Keynote

Dr. Richard Tipper

Countdown to 2020


Dr. Richard Tipper

Executive Chairman

Prof. Iain Woodhouse

Founder / CEO

Prof. Mathew Williams

Global Change Ecology
University of Edinburgh

Dimitrios Michelakis

Head of Mapping and EO

Ane Alencar

Director of Science

Tom Blomley

Yakubu Mohammed

Manager, GIS & Remote Sensing
Ghana Forestry Commission

Jean P. Ometto

Senior Researcher
CCST / INPE (Brazil)

Lilik Budi Prasetyo

Head of Environmental Analysis & Spatial Modelling Lab
Bogor Agricultural University – IPB


The Forests 2020 Global Conference

Date:  8-10th April 2019
Time: 8:45am until 5:00pm, daily
Venue: John McIntyre Conference Centre, Pollock Halls, Edinburgh


Paula McGregor

Forests 2020 Conference Organiser
Space Programme Administrator


Sarah Middlemiss

Forests 2020 Conference Organiser
Space Programme Manager


Forests 2020 Partners

UK National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO). NCEO brings together much of the UK’s renowned EO expertise and research capability. The UK is a global leader in the science of forests’ role in global climate change. Within the NCEO framework, this project comprises teams at: The University of Edinburgh (UoE) School of Geosciences, the largest group of geoscientists in the UK with a concentration of expertise in remote sensing technology and applications, and in forest measurements, monitoring and modelling, and The University of Leicester (UoL) with expertise in Space Research and EO which has led to a variety of training, research and applications. UoL uses satellite data to study key challenges such as climate change and how to develop new technologies for the future, carrying out research into the design and exploitation of increasingly sophisticated sensors that are now available.




Carbomap is a UK based specialist forest survey and mapping company working to support sustainable forest management. The team, led by Professor Iain Woodhouse, have international reputations in remote sensing methodologies, satellite radar mapping, forest structure mapping, carbon sequestration and airborne survey.


INPE, linked to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation in Brazil, aims to provide science and technology in space and the terrestrial environments, and offer innovative products and services in benefit of Brazil. The responsibility of the EO area is to develop the scientific and technological knowledge in remote sensing and digital image processing.



IPAM is an independent nonprofit research institute, with a current staff of 105 people distributed across eight offices in the Amazon and Cerrado Biomes. For the past 21 years IPAM has been working with basic and collaborative research to understand the ecological limits of land use/cover and climate change to Amazon forest ecosystems, as well as assessing the impacts of public policies on deforestation and forest degradation in these areas.


KeyAssociados’ ESG & Sustainability unit is responsible for helping clients integrate Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) management into their business strategies, products and services in Brazil. It is a well connected organisation in Brazil, working closely with private, public and civil society organisations.


ECOSUR is a multidisciplinary research centre in Mexico, with a staff of approximately 250 researchers and offices in all states of the southern border of Mexico, and one of the leading research centres in this region. The Laboratorio de Análisis Geográfico (LAIGE) of ECOSUR is a department whose line of interest is the study of forest resources using geographic information systems and remote sensing tools; some of the topics studied include deforestation and CO2 emissions, drivers of land use change, biodiversity and ecosystem services loss.



Pronatura Sur is a Mexican NGO recognised for its contribution to the conservation of areas of high ecological value in the south of Mexico. For the past 10 years, Pronatura Sur has focused on Chiapas’ forest sectors, developing methodologies, supporting communities and improving the value chain. Pronatura Sur has significant experience in capacity building on REDD+ and related topics for mid-level governmental and private sector decision makers.



Ambio is a Mexican NGO which aims to promote rural development from the participation of communities, with emphasis on local improvement, recognising local interests and particular needs. Ambio has strong links with government agencies, NGOs, academia and the communities where they have been working for over 10 years, and was part of the Technical Advisory Committee of the Mexico-Norway Initiative , participating actively in both the National REDD+ strategy and the State REDD+ strategy for Chiapas.


FIPRODEFO is an autonomous government institution, which serves as the technical and operational body on issues of relevance in the state of Jalisco’s forests. Forest branches of work include: geomatics and information systems; forest genetic improvement; forest health; sustainable forest management; and commercial forest plantations. Since its establishment in 1998, the trust has served as a specialised institution operating in forestry issues.


IDEAM is a governmental institution ascribed to the Colombian Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development which is in charge of producing and managing the scientific and technical information on the environment. IDEAM generates knowledge, produces reliable, consistent and timely information on the status and dynamics of natural resources and the environment, to facilitate the definition and setting of environmental policies and decision-making by the public, private and the public sectors in general.


Universidad de los Andes.The COMIT research group of the System and Computing Department of Universidad de los Andes (UniAndes) has been leading the Colombian Data Cube project for more than a year at IDEAM. The main objective of the project is the implementation of a data cube for Colombia, and aims to store all Landsat imagery for the country since 2000 and provide a standard repository for this information.


Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) is one of the leading universities in Indonesia that focuses on agriculture and forestry. IPB has conducted various studies related to food security and environments, including agriculture, forestry, and climate. IPB has worked collaboratively with various public and private agencies including the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (LAPAN) that has been initiated since 2010. This alliance has been created to carry out satellite technology development in order to support food security and environmental monitoring.


PT Hatfield Indonesia is a pioneer in the field of environmental services in Indonesia, providing a strong local presence and a team of local and international multi-disciplinary specialists built up over more than 25 years of regional experience. Hatfield has an excellent understanding of forest monitoring policies and development in Indonesia, particularly REDD+ MRV programmes, having previously conducted project work for the UN-REDD / REDD+ Task Force and Ministry of Forestry (now Ministry of Environment and Forestry).


Daemeter is a leading independent consulting firm promoting sustainable development through responsible and equitable management of natural resources, particularly in Asia’s emerging economies. The team comprises advisors, technical experts and project managers and has been working throughout Indonesia collaborating with the Government and private sectors.


The Faculty of Renewable Resources (FRNR) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) promotes the proper management of sustainable utilisation of forest, savannahs, wildlife, freshwater fisheries and watersheds through teaching, research and dissemination of information. The faculty has a broad range of expertise in remote sensing and GIS. The faculty is actively involved in collaborative research with agencies such as UNESCO, USAID, FAO, CIDA, and the World Bank.


RMSC is the technical wing of the Forestry Commission of Ghana. The centre is made up of various experts of international repute in forestry, environmental conservation, natural resources management, biodiversity assessment and management among others. They have experience in working with many development agencies, and over the years has developed collaborative initiatives with forest fringe communities and other stakeholders in forest resource management so as to promote forest governance.


Kenya Forest Service (KFS) is mandated to enhance development, conservation and management of Kenya’s forest resources base in all public forests, and assist County Governments to develop and manage forest resources on community and private lands for the equitable benefit of present and future generations. KFS has a fully equipped GIS lab managed by full MSc graduates in GIS and remote sensing. It is comprised of a team of remote sensing experts, GIS officers and geodatabase managers.


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