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World Bank Report and Sylvera Case Study: Digital Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification Systems and Their Application in Future Carbon Markets

July 1, 2022
World Bank Report and Sylvera Case Study: d-MRV in Carbon Markets

Sylvera has contributed to the World Bank’s new report, “Digital Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification Systems and Their Application in Future Carbon Markets”. Using six case studies, the report looks at new technological solutions for the challenges facing carbon markets, from the quantifying of emissions to coordination of data. It also explores how policy and regulation can support this innovation. 

Sylvera’s case study (pages 43-47) details how we use innovative technologies to map forest biomass and carbon with unprecedented coverage and accuracy. It also explains how we use this data both for our carbon credit ratings, and for wider novel climate solutions such as supporting jurisdictional forest crediting. 

3 technologies featured in the report that have revolutionised Sylvera’s approach to forest monitoring: 

1. Remote sensing 

We use multispectral satellite data, including optical data from satellites and topographical ranging data from the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation LiDAR instrument on board the International Space Station. This data has global coverage, with spatial resolutions that vary from 10 - 30 m. Data is calibrated and pre-processed to reduce artefacts and achieve a clear image for each region. 

2. Deep learning 

Deep-learning models interpret optical satellite images and apply a binary “forest/ not forest” mask, considering the local definition of forest. These models can then be used to track forest cover in project areas, as well as reference and leakage areas, over time. 

3. Multi-scale lidar 

Inferring reliable pixel-wise above-ground biomass values from satellite data requires accurate on the ground data to calibrate the machine learning models. Sylvera gathers biomass data using multi-level LiDAR scanning and volumetric tree modeling. Terrestrial LiDAR scanning maps vegetation across sample plots to millimetre detail, collecting about 400,000 data points per sqaure meterThis is scaled up using drone-mounted, unoccupied aerial vehicle-based LiDAR scanning 1,000 ha and upwards of 50,000 ha in slow- and fast-flying configurations.

D-MRV is essential for scaling carbon markets

This is a critical point for carbon markets, with unprecedented demand and increasing scrutiny. D-MRV has the potential to unlock many more sources of carbon credits, therefore providing much-needed climate finance across the world. It also allows for greater transparency and integrity, helping market participants be sure that their investment in carbon markets is having a genuine positive impact on the climate. We are proud to be part of this transition, and through participating in projects such as this we hope to help raise the profile of D-MRV in carbon markets and accelerate progress towards a net zero world. 

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About the author
Policy Associate

Polly Thompson is a Policy Associate at Sylvera. She holds a masters degree in Climate Change from UCL and a degree in Natural Science from the University of Cambridge. A former teacher, her role in the policy team focuses on communications and sharing climate and Voluntary Carbon Markets expertise.