Tropical forests are under many competing economic, human and environmental pressures. When managed sustainably, they provide resources for the nation’s economy and stakeholders while continuing to support the needs of local populations. Illegal deforestation and degradation are major threats to the integrity of forests and a significant contributor to climate change.

In line with the laws and regulations of producer nations, and in support of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), the tropical forest industry is today managed and developed in a way that ensures forest resources are exploited with sustainability, traceability and preservation of the environment in mind.

Assuring regulatory compliance and sustainable forest management calls for remote forest monitoring capabilities independent of operators on the ground. Telespazio holds expertise that supports the combination of satellite remote sensing with compliance checking of forest concessions’ documentation – a unique asset for governments, operators and development partners.

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Services and Products

Telespazio's operational forestry services supply compliance indicators for monitoring logging activities in tropical forests to:

  • Guarantee that logging is planned in line with sustainable forest management practices
  • Detect any illegal logging to enable law enforcement authorities to act quickly
  • Monitor forest regeneration zones that are not open to logging

Telespazio supplies valuable insight into logging operations in tropical forests by:

  • Providing a broad, concurrent picture of all authorised and illegal logging concessions
  • Pinpointing new roads, forest clearings and selective logging
  • Qualifying compliance through checking of operators’ management documents
  • Tracking the dynamics of land clearance for farming
  • Assuring the integrity of conservation and regeneration areas


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Case Studies


Telespazio UK is the forestry domain lead on the Earth and Sea Observation System (EASOS) project in Malaysia, supported by the International Partnerships Program (IPP), and has gained significant knowledge in the area of tropical forest monitoring. Potential illegal deforestation alerts are currently being produced and served in a visualisation tool (developed by the Satellite Applications Catapult) to the Forestry Department of Peninsular Malaysia. Several hundred hectares of suspected illegal logging in Malaysian tropical forests have been detected and alerted to Malaysian stakeholders. Further details can be accessed through the published case study Satellite Applications Catapult (Malaysia) Environmental Monitoring.

The figure below illustrates an area of deforestation detected in Peninsula Malaysia, with tree cutting identified in orange in the EASOS portal. 

Through the ForestWatch service, Telespazio UK provides:

  • High resolution forest change mapping, detect logging events smaller than 100 sq. metres
  • Find where and when illegal logging occurs in near real-time
  • Using the changes to create alerts and prioritise regions of action
  • Mapping in darkness and cloudy conditions, vital for the tropics
  • Large area coverage, utilising a range of acquisition modes from Sentinel-1 and COSMO Sky-Med


Monitoring Forests in Guatemala

Telespazio UK has monitored the forests in Guatemala using radar imagery change detection technologies to:

  • Monitor changes in the forestry canopy to look for deforestation or logging activities
  • Identify illegal logging sites to facilitate intervention and prosecution
  • Provide information as evidence in legal proceedings
  • Support Guatemala Forestry Agencies in their abilities to manage forests through knowledge exchange and training 

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