Near Real-Time Change Detection System Using Sentinel-2 and Machine Learning: A Test for Mexican and Colombian Forests
The commitment by over 100 governments covering over 90% of the world's forests at the COP26 in Glasgow to end deforestation by 2030 requires more effective forest monitoring systems. The near real-time (NRT) change detection of forest cover loss enables forest landowners, government agencies and local communities to monitor natural and anthropogenic disturbances in a much timelier fashion than the thematic maps that are released every year. NRT deforestation alerts enable the establishment of
... ore up-to-date forest inventories and rapid responses to unlicensed logging. The Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellites provide operational Earth observation (EO) data from multi-spectral optical/near-infrared wavelengths every five days at a global scale and at 10 m resolution. The amount of acquired data requires cloud computing or high-performance computing for ongoing monitoring systems and an automated system for processing, analyzing and delivering the information promptly. Here, we present a Sentinel-2-based NRT change detection system, assess its performance over two study sites, Manantlán in Mexico and Cartagena del Chairá in Colombia, and evaluate the forest changes that occurred in 2018. An independent validation with very high-resolution PlanetScope (~3 m) and RapidEye (~5 m) data suggests that the proposed NRT change detection system can accurately detect forest cover loss (> 87%), other vegetation loss (> 76%) and other vegetation gain (> 71%). Furthermore, the proposed NRT change detection system is designed to be attuned using in situ data. Therefore, it is scalable to larger regions, entire countries and even continents.