Publicly available indicative High Carbon Stock Forest maps for Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines

Mapping High Carbon Stock (HCS) forests is a critical step towards protecting them from deforestation. High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA) member Barry Callebaut (BC) teamed up with the EcoVision Lab at ETH Zurich University to produce large-scale indicative HCS forest maps for Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Utilising HCSA’s classification for vegetation stratification, over the past four years the ETH team combined new spaceborne LIDAR, satellite imagery, and calibrated regional carbon biomass data to produce large-scale indicative HCS maps which are highly automated and objective.

These maps represent a good first step towards automating large-scale indicative HCS forest maps covering large tropical forest regions.  Nevertheless, it is important to locally calibrate the maps to validate and/or improve the accuracy of the maps before using them for integrated conservation land use planning, management, and monitoring.  Additionally, the large-scale maps may be used to complement, but not substitute, HCS forest mapping as required for HCSA assessments as per HCSA Toolkit requirements. 

The HCSA will continue to work with HCSA members and partners, including BC and ETH, to regularly update large-scale indicative HCS maps and improve their accuracy. The HCSA will support making the refined maps publicly available for use by land managers implementing the HCS Approach, in particular, smallholder farmers and small to medium enterprise third-party suppliers to HCSA members.

For access to the pre-print ‘High carbon stock mapping at large scale with optical satellite imagery and spaceborne LIDAR’ paper published ETH Zurich and University of Zurich and for access to the indicative HCS maps for Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines visit this link.