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Environmental Monitoring of Brazilian Biomes

Space Science, Applications and Technology Foundation (Funcate) and National Institute of Space Research (Inpe)

Project official website



i) Development and enactment of deforestation monitoring systems for the Atlantic Forest, Caatinga, Pampa and Pantanal biomes; ii) Calculation of CO2 emissions for deforested areas and creation of a proposed FREL for each of these biomes; and iii) Platform development for analysis and visualization of large volumes of geospatial data


Individuals and institutions that use information related to the monitoring of deforestation and forest degradation, as well as the Brazilian government, which will now is provided with a Forest Reference Emission Level (FREL) for submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Territorial scope

Biomes Mata Atlântica, Caatinga, Pampa and Pantanal, in the deforestation monitoring actions and FREL proposition; and the entire national territory in the actions of platform development for analysis and visualization of large volumes of geospatial data



The Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD +) mechanism is an economic instrument developed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Its role is to provide financial incentives to developing countries for the results achieved in combating deforestation and forest degradation and in promoting the increase of forest cover. Through REDD +, developing countries that have reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and increase in carbon stocks are eligible to receive payments for results from a number of international sources. These payments are expected to be carried out by mitigation results, measured in tonnes of CO2 equivalent, against a FREL (Forest Reference Emission Level), constructed and submitted by the countries themselves, and approved by an evaluation carried out under the UNFCCC.

Thus, in order to access REDD + resources, the country has the challenge of measuring mitigation results based on transparent and consistent data on deforestation, forest degradation and forest inventory increase, as well as estimates of the amount of carbon per measured area unit.

Since 1988, deforestation in the Legal Amazon is monitored annually by the National Institute of Space Research (INPE), through the Brazilian Amazon Forest Satellite Monitoring System (PRODES). On the other hand, the monitoring of deforestation in other Brazilian biomes has been carried out in a non-systematic way, through specific initiatives conducted by different institutions, whose results are not officially recognized by the Brazilian Government.

Brazil submitted its first FREL in 2014, based on historical data from PRODES, covering only the Amazon biome (FREL Amazônia). In this submission the Country indicated that the national FREL would be calculated as the sum of the FRELs of each of its six biomes.

In January 2017, the document of the Brazilian submission of the reference level of forest emissions of the Cerrado biome (Closed FREL) was sent to the UNFCCC. The development of this FREL was based on a historical data series of gross deforestation produced by INPE, covering the period from 2000 to 2010, with year 2000 as the reference year.

The submission of FREL Cerrado is the continuation of the country's effort towards an FREL that contemplates emissions from all Brazilian biomes, which will enable the definition of a National FREL and increase the capacity to acquire payments by results. In order for a National FREL to be established, it is still necessary to set up subnational FRELs for the other Brazilian biomes: Atlantic Forest, Caatinga, Pampa and Pantanal. 


The project provides for the development and enactment of deforestation monitoring systems for the Mata Atlântica, Caatinga, Pampa and Pantanal biomes, as well as the calculation of CO2 emissions for deforested areas in these biomes and the construction of a Forest Reference Emission Level (FREL) for each of these biomes.

Furthermore, the project includes the development of a technological solution for storing and processing a large volume of geospatial data, called "Brazil Data Cube".

This technological solution consists of a platform that will store data obtained from different satellites, with different observations of the vegetation cover of the Brazilian biomes realized over time, allowing the analysis of the data in spatial and also temporal dimensions.


The project falls within the "Monitoring and Control" (2) and "Scientific and Technological" (4) component of the Amazon Fund's Logical Framework.

Click on the following image to view its objectives trees, that is, how the project's outputs are linked to the expected outcomes and impacts.



Date of approval 09.25.2017
Date of the contract 01.09.2018
Disbursement period 72 months (from the date the contract was signed)


date amount
1º disbursements 05.02.2018 R$5,466,342.85
2º disbursements 05.29.2019 R$2,897,100.33
3º disbursements 08.15.2019 R$8,691,300.98
4º disbursements 10.09.2020 R$12,639,262.76
5º disbursements 12.13.2021 R$19,422,895.76
6º disbursements 09.25.2023 R$661,097.32
Total amount disbursed R$49,778,000.00

Total amount disbursed in relation to the Amazon Fund’s support



The database for building the historical series of deforestation was created within the TerraAmazon platform, where the information plans available for these biomes were inserted. The images for the mapping of deforestation accumulated until the year 2000, and for the mapping of the years 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 were selected and processed, being ready for interpretation. In order to meet the needs of the Ministry of the Environment (MMA), the Foundation for Space Applications and Technology (Funcate) prioritized the preparation of maps from 2004 to 2018 for the historical series.

The methodology applied is consistent with the Amazon Monitoring Program and other INPE biomes. The mapping is performed by visual analysis of the medium spatial resolution images (Landsat and similar), with a minimum mappable area of 1 hectare, operational work scale of 1:75,000, ensuring the production of the final maps in the 1:250,000 scale.

The data below reveal a significant increase in the monitored area in the four biomes.





Mata Atlântica
















After the construction of the historical series of deforestation maps, CO2 emissions will be calculated on the deforested areas in this period and then the forest emissions reference levels (FREL).

The database was also prepared for all biomes, which are awaiting the new layers of information (or maps) regarding deforestation and the distribution of past vegetation and biomass and carbon stocks in the compartments of interest for insertion. In addition, the validation of vegetation maps was initiated and meetings were held with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovations (MCTIC) to define carbon stock values. There was also the preparation of 90% of the database for image processing for construction of the vegetation map.

With regard to the development of the Platform for analysis and visualization of large volumes of geospatial data "Brazil Data Cube", the collections and data cubes of images of the satellites MODIS, CBERS-4/4A, Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2 were expanded to achieve the goal of covering the entire national territory and including recent images. It consists of web services, applications and software packages, interfaces and iterative computing environments. These data are available in an open and freely accessible way through the Brazil Data Cube portal (

Since the beginning of the project, 29 articles have been published in magazines and congresses, with emphasis on the article Earth Observation Data Cubes for Brazil: Requirements, methodology and Products, published in the international magazine Remote Sensing, one of the most downloaded - TOP Downloaded (Nov 2020 – Jan 2021). It was decided to publish in journals that have an open access policy for wide dissemination both to researchers and to society in general. There are 25 scientific, pedagogical or informative publications produced.

Nine training events were held, divided into three courses, four lectures and two workshops. Five 4-hour training sessions were also carried out to present the improvements implemented in TerraAmazon (georeferenced annotations, new layout of the main interface, changes in editing mode, and revisions of the vector processing algorithms).

It is also worth mentioning activities such as the maintenance and administration of the computing infrastructure used by the project, including servers, databases, network, and other components that integrate the IT infrastructure of the project, including the workstations performed by information technology professionals.

Final Evaluation


In this area we offer some PDF files with the main publications generated by the project. Click the filename to start the download.