As more and more companies begin buying and selling forest carbon offsets, the United Nations has launched an online forest health tracker.
The tracker uses various data sets, as well as satellite data, to help monitor the size and health of forests. The system has data for 13,000 forest locations, according to the UN.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization is involved in the project.
The UN estimates that 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions result from deforestation and forest degradation.
The UN Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) tool is aimed at combating climate change through creating incentives to reverse the trend of deforestation.
FAO notes that for the monitoring tool to become truly effective, nations must agree on measurement, reporting and verification systems for tracking carbon emissions.
“This system will not cover all information needs for REDD, but the remote sensing approach, together with field verification, will provide forest area changes in a robust and verifiable way – a crucial component for carbon accounting under REDD,” said Mette Wilkie who coordinates the Global Forest Resources Assessment Programme at FAO.