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In November 2023, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission and a consortium led by VITO signed a four-year framework contract to implement the new Copernicus Global Land Cover and Tropical Forest Mapping and Monitoring service (LCFM). This service continues and enhances the 100m Copernicus Global Land Cover layers and integrates the lessons learned from ESA’s WorldCover and the Horizon2020 REDDCopernicus projects to provide a dynamic global land cover service at 10m resolution for the years 2020-2026.

Since the release of the 100m Copernicus Global Land Cover layers for 2015 in May 2019, and annual updates for 2016-2019, numerous users have been drawn to this land cover product. These land cover maps assure high-quality products for every user and therefore the demand for the continuation of this service is high. Similarly, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) WorldCover product has attracted a large user base due to its combination of high spatial resolution (10m) offered by Sentinel 1 and 2, and an excellent global quality, leading to a constant demand for operationalizing this product. Additionally, the provision of reliable, timely and consistent tree cover information is crucial to support the EU Deforestation-Free Regulation (EUDR) and the REDD+ Policy process.

In this context, the new Copernicus Global Land Cover and Tropical Forest Mapping and Monitoring service (LCFM), part of the global component of the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service, aims not only to continue the time series of the 100m Copernicus Global Land Cover layers but also to enhance the existing service by providing a high resolution (10m), dynamic global land cover service. LCFM will generate frequent, sub-annual land surface categorisations and land cover characteristics and consolidate these into global annual land cover maps and tropical forest monitoring products at 10m resolution.

A consortium led by VITO with partners GAF, GeoVille, GFZ, IGN FI, IIASA along with support from two sub-contractors, i.e., Sinergise and Telespazio Ibérica, has been awarded by JRC to implement this new service.
Leveraging extensive experience in operational, global and continental land cover monitoring, tropical forest monitoring and mapping, scientifically rigorous validation, training data collection and cloud agnostic deployment of operational workflows, the consortium is committed to delivering output products of the highest quality. 

The LCFM contract starts in January 2024 with a ten-month-long ramp-up phase. During this phase, the innovative workflow will be tested, and outcomes refined based on a subset covering approximately 10% of the total land surface. Upon evaluation of the ramp-up phase results, full-scale production of the annual and sub-annual land cover and forest monitoring products for the year 2020 will begin. The initial public results are expected to be available early 2025. Subsequently, the service will extend its scope, producing similar products for the years 2021 through 2026.

 

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