Geospatial Technologies and Satellite Imaging to Spur Growth of Forestry Inventory Management in Carbon Markets
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Geospatial Technologies and Satellite Imaging to Spur Growth of Forestry Inventory Management in Carbon Markets

Absent an authoritative ‘spatial’ accounting system, forestry carbon credits will trade at low per-ton value, GeoEye expert Joel Campbell tells foresters

MORGANTOWN, W.Va., Aug. 6, 2009 — Geospatial technologies, including satellite imaging, are becoming increasingly important tools for monitoring and measuring the impact of climate change on the Earth’s surface, and for understanding the future of forest carbon markets, geospatial imagery expert Joel Campbell recently told a group of forestry and technology professionals at a seminar here.

“High-resolution commercial satellites have been in use for 10 years, so researchers can use historical archives to model what has occurred in the last decade and predict what will happen in the future,” said Campbell, senior director of product management at GeoEye, Inc. [NASDAQ: GEOY]. “This is extremely important as we look at carbon monitoring.”

Speaking at the seminar, the fourth event in ImageTree’s Idea Leadership Series, Campbell continued: “Forestry carbon credits are just in the process of being accepted domestically and internationally, yet today they rely upon ground-based data that is very expensive to collect. The need for frequent carbon monitoring to ensure that forest biomass remains intact makes ground-based data too expensive to collect more than every five years.

“Any doubt or lack of confidence in inventory and, therefore, credit integrity will reduce the per-ton value price of forestry carbon credits. Geospatial imaging and remote-sensing systems that facilitate visual analytics and feature extraction, in combination with ground correlation, are the future for both carbon credit baseline and frequent inventory monitoring systems,” Campbell, who has 20 years of experience in the geospatial industry, said.

“These are the technologies that will provide regulators, investors and landowners confidence that the forestry carbon credit market is real and dependable. Without widespread deployment of these technologies and absent a credible ‘spatial’ accounting system, carbon credits will trade at low per-ton value,” he added.

“Two decades ago, if remote sensing was done, it was done on a large scale and just to get an idea of what things looked like. Today, remote sensing from satellites and aerial digital mapping cameras helps us to understand elevation, tree heights, delineate tree crowns and, in some cases, see below the canopy – all of which leads to better forest management and sustainable forests.”

For those who were not able to participate in the live event, either in person or via the Web, Campbell’s presentation is available in its entirety at

Certified foresters are eligible for two hours of continuing education credits.

Part of the company’s commitment to leadership within the forestry community, the ImageTree Idea Leadership Series, now in its second year, is designed to promote innovative ideas for the preservation and management of forested environments.

About ImageTree Corporation
ImageTree Corp. is a forestry-technology-solutions company with a patented technology platform which combines remote sensing, field inputs, automated software and advanced mathematics to provide a comprehensive view of a forest. Known as “the precision forestry company,” ImageTree uses its precise baseline assessments of forest assets — including biodiversity and carbon-stock assessments — to create valuable forest-management information then reformats the data to create management tools that enable recommendations for more profitable forest management. ImageTree recently signed agreements with GeoEye, Inc., and MJ Harden Associates, Inc. (a GeoEye company) that enable the three companies to cooperatively create, market, sell, and deliver commercially viable forestry management inventory solutions to the forestry industry. The company also recently signed a strategic technology development agreement with In-Q-Tel to support the U.S. intelligence community.

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Note: ImageTree and The Precision Forestry Company are trademarks of ImageTree Corporation. The names of other actual companies, organizations and/or products/services mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Rick Sacks

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