New partnership to harness geospatial technologies for carbon estimation research in Singapore’s forests

The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) and NUS Science signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on leveraging geospatial data and technologies for carbon estimation research in Singapore. The MOU was signed by Mr Colin Low, Chief Executive of SLA, and Professor Sun Yeneng, Dean of NUS Science, at the sidelines of the 4th Singapore Geospatial Festival 2022.

Under the MOU, SLA will support carbon estimation research conducted by the NUS Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions (CNCS), a research centre under NUS Science, with the necessary geospatial data acquired using technologies such as airborne laser scanning and imagery. The collaboration will bring about improved methodologies that can enhance productivity and cost efficiencies in carbon estimation of Singapore’s nature reserves and other ecosystems.

The carbon estimation research intends to assess the amount of carbon stored in Singapore’s forests and other ecosystems including primary and secondary forests, mangroves as well as parks and gardens. Current carbon estimation research involves fieldwork to collect data which is laborious. It also relies heavily on the use of satellite images which are not of high resolution in terms of image quality and could affect the accuracy of research findings. Through this collaboration, SLA will share geospatial data gathered from airborne laser scanning (also known as Light Detection and Ranging or LiDAR) as well as high-resolution aerial images with NUS CNCS to supplement the carbon estimation analyses by their researchers. The findings from NUS CNCS’s research will facilitate planning and implementation of protection and restoration activities across ecosystems in Singapore. Please refer to Annex A for an infographic on how geospatial technologies can help in carbon estimation, and Annex B for the scope of the research activities.

Mr Low said, “SLA and NUS share the same vision in being part of the solution in tackling climate change challenges. We have been working together to leverage each other’s expertise to support sustainable development efforts in Singapore.  There are vast possibilities for the use of geospatial data and technologies which can offer deeper insights into environmental changes. As a “living lab”, this collaboration will bolster Singapore’s aspirations under the Singapore Green Plan to be a carbon services hub in Asia to facilitate carbon trading. It will also pave the way for greater application of SLA’s 3D mapping expertise in NUS’s research activities, combining geospatial technology and climate science.”

Prof Sun said, “This collaboration will contribute and strengthen national carbon estimation efforts in Singapore to provide data and insights to enable strong evidence-based policymaking. Our researchers at NUS CNCS are looking forward to working with SLA to develop better techniques using novel technology to make advancements in carbon estimation across various ecosystems in Singapore to help drive action on climate change.”