Illegal Timber Logging

Amis de la terre
Adam Jones, Ph.D

Illegal Timber Logging

The Illegal Timber Logging pilot service can provide users with relevant information to contribute to focused reactions during conflicts and to evaluate the nature and extent of illegal logging in selected areas.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has the greatest extent of tropical rainforests in Africa, covering over 100 million hectares. Despite government interventions, illegal logging remains a significant concern within DRC. The UN estimates that at the present rate of exploitation more than two thirds of the Congo Basin forest could be lost by 2040.


Core products


Geographic Reference Map providing basic geo-information of the study area




Timber Logging Map indicating those areas where timber logging activities may take place




Information Dossier describing briefly how to interpret the map and summarizing the analysis steps and major results



Geographic Reference Map

For regions such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), vector data are hardly available and often not reliable. Due to the lack of geo-data most of the vector data has been derived from visual interpretation and manual digitization of the satellite imagery in order to support the satellite based image analyses. The feature extraction process benefits. Thus, the impact of seasonal or even daily variations due to factors such as rainfall or biological growth can be overcome and the range of detectable features extended.

The Geographic Reference Map (GRM) provides basic geo-information such as road network, river network and settlements. The reference maps are provided at a scale of 1:100.000 for high resolution imagery and at a scale of 1:18.000 for Very High Resolution (VHR) imagery, respectively.


Timber Logging Map

Timber Logging Maps (TLM) are produced using both optical and radar satellite data. Changes are identified using semi-automated methods. The final product is a vector layer in which each polygon represents a change with regard to the class of interest, i.e. logged areas. Changes provide knowledge about the activities carried out in the study area. This product supports the analysis performed by the user.

The Timber Logging Map of Oshwe, DRC, shows logged fields projected on the ALOS PALSAR greyscale image for the period between July 11, 2007 and October 16, 2009. The red polygons show the logging status on October 11, 2007 and the green polygons the logging status on October 16, 2009.



Service coordination


This pilot service is coordinated by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) with the efforts of other partners inside the G-MOSAIC project: e-Geos, GISAT, Astrium GEO-Information Services and TNO.


Click the link below to download the  brochure for the service Illegal Timber Logging:

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Illegal Timber Logging