A Land Cover Change Monitoring Program: Strategy for an International Effort

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An international system for monitoring land cover change is needed to support a range of scientific and policy objectives. Although much of the technology and methods are readily available, such a program has yet to be implemented. This paper outlines the rationale, requirements, and strategy for implementing a land cover-monitoring program using satellite remote sensing, field and ground measurements, and models and assessments. The proposed program builds on existing activities throughout the world and is designed to simultaneously meet the needs of the international policy, global change research, and national resource management. Outputs from this program would provide support to the Framework Convention on Climate Change, lead to the development of consistent country-level emission inventories, and address important scientific problems in global change research such as closing the global carbon budget.