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From: Dan Dubrick
To: All
Date: 2003-06-10 00:52:00
Subject: 6\05 ESA providing Kyoto est. of French Guiana's tropical forests

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European Space Agency

Press Release

ESA providing Kyoto estimates of French Guiana's tropical forests

5 June 2003
 
ESA is providing data from its Earth observation satellites to
monitor the tropical forests in French Guiana and help the French
government meet its obligations under the international Kyoto
Protocol agreement on global warming. 
 
Like all the so-called "Annex I" signatories to the Kyoto Protocol,
France is required to measure and reduce its overall greenhouse gas
emissions. But France is also the only such country possessing
tropical forests, most of which are in French Guiana.

Tropical forests represent a vast store of carbon, while their
deforestation represents a significant source of anthropogenic
(man-made) greenhouse gas emissions. Ninety percent of French Guiana,
or approximately 80 000 sq km, is covered with tropical forests and
woodlands. French Guiana is also home to the European spaceport,
shared by the French and ESA, at Kourou.

"The final objective is to estimate afforestation, deforestation and
land-use changes," stated Alain Chaudron, technical advisor for
international forests affairs at the French Ministry of Agriculture,
Food, Fisheries and Rural Affairs. "The project is a continuation in
tropical forests of the ones (ESA) is doing in eight European
countries in the temperate zone." 

Chaudron explained that the estimates should be provided at 1/2 -
hectare increments, or 5000 sq m, and include corresponding carbon
analyses to fulfil Kyoto Protocol commitments. They are provided as
part of ESA's GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security)
Programme. 

Representatives from ESA met back in early April with the French
Inter-Ministerial Mission on Greenhouse Effects, the French Ministry
of Agriculture and Forestry, and the French Ministry of the
Environment to discuss details of the project.
 
In addition, the project involves others, including the
Inter-professional Centre of Technical Studies of Atmospheric
Pollution, the National Forest Inventory, and the National Office of
Forests. Two French research organisations, SILVOLAB and GIP ECOFOR,
have been commissioned to implement the field collection in French
Guiana. 

The project to assess the tropical forests in French Guiana grew out
of a January meeting in Paris between Professor Josť Achache,
director of ESA's Earth Observation programmes, and Pierre Eric
Rosenberg, MAAPAR's director of rural areas and forestry. This
meeting followed the presence of ESA at last autumn's United Nations
Framework on Climate Change Convention Eighth Session of the Parties
in New Delhi.

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