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3rd GOFC-GOLD Symposium


Wageningen, The Netherlands

15-19 April, 2013

Summary report of the Symposium

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Group picture
Participants of the Plenary session (Wednesday, April 17)


The Global Observation of Forest and Land Cover Dynamics (GOFC-GOLD) is a coordinated international effort to ensure a continuous program of space-based and in situ forest and land cover observations to better understand global change, to support international assessments and environmental treaties and to contribute to natural resources management. GOFC-GOLD encourages countries to increase their ability to measure and track forest and land cover dynamics by promoting and supporting participation on implementation teams and in regional networks. Through these forums, data users and providers share information to improve understanding of user requirements and product quality. GOFC-GOLD is a panel of the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS), sponsored by FAO, UNESCO, WMO, ICSU and UNEP.

More specifically the primary function of the Land Cover Implementation Team (LC-IT) is to develop and evaluate methods, tools and products for land cover measurements and monitoring using space-borne and in-situ observations. The LC-IT assesses current needs and deficiencies for global and regional monitoring to support Global Change research, national and regional forest inventories and international policy (i.e. through working with the UN Conventions). The LC-IT cooperates with the GOFC-GOLD Fire-IT, WGs, and worldwide RNs.

The Fire-IT is aimed at refining and articulating the international requirements for fire related observations and making the best possible use of fire products from the existing and future satellite observing systems, for fire management, policy decision-making and global change research. One of the primary goals the Fire-IT is to establish an operational network of fire validation sites and protocols, providing accuracy assessment for operational products and a test bed for new or enhanced products, leading to standard products of known accuracy.

Two previous GOFC-GOLD Symposiums were organised in 2006 and 2008 in Jena, Germany at Friedrich Schiller University. The last Symposium was attended by more than 150 persons coming from research institutes, academic research, non-governmental organisations and private sector. Beside presenting GOFC-GOLD progress in various areas and activities, the Symposium was aimed at engaging the global community of forest and land cover monitoring experts to develop technical consensus in critical areas (REDD, boreal forest monitoring, standards in reporting guidelines, land cover map validation. This third GOFC-GOLD Symposium is intended to provide the land cover monitoring community an opportunity to discuss current challenges related to REDD+, Land Cover ECV, GEO, GLC mapping and validation activities. The Symposium will provide members of the GOFC-GOLD ITs, WGs, and RNs an opportunity to discuss the future of the upcoming priorities and organisation (structure, orientations, internal and external synergies).

Objectives of the Symposium

The GOFC-GOLD Office organizes this Symposium to review the recent research accomplishments in the global land cover and forest monitoring in the arenas of research, implementation, support of international assessments, and capacity development in developing countries. Specific activities from GOFC-GOLD and its partners will be reported. The Symposium will outline the specific research, applications and development needs that should be targeted by GOFC-GOLD in the future.

The Symposium will be an opportunity for GOFC-GOLD to communicate on its advancements and on its contributions to a series of international initiatives notably those that aim at standardizing and harmonizing GLC mapping procedures. In addition the Symposium will enable the members of the GOFC-GOLD to meet other international experts. Therefore the Symposium will be an opportunity to present state-of-the-art research and provide recommendations for future work based on identified research gaps.

The outcomes of the meeting will enable GOFC-GOLD to provide its sponsors (Food and Agriculture Organization, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, World Meteorological Service, International Council for Science and United Nations Environment Programme) with updated scientific and technical information to support internationally coordinated initiatives like the COP events, those from the Global Terrestrial Observing System, and those from the Group on Earth Observations.

Gathering the GOFC-GOLD members will permit the update of the long-term objectives of the organization, and strengthen its leading role in the GLC and forest mapping community.

Detailed objectives of this Symposium are:

1) Present, discuss and synthesize the achievements of the on-going GOFC-GOLD Implementation Teams (IT), Working Groups (WG), Regional Networks (RN)) and partners activities:

  • Update on REDD+, its working group and the recent developments at UNFCCC COP-18 in Qatar (Fall 2012)
  • Contributions of GOFC-GOLD to update the REDD sourcebook
  • Contributions of GOFC-GOLD to GEO Land Cover and Land Cover Change Task (SB-02)
  • Contributions of GOFC-GOLD land cover team to GEO Forest Carbon Tracking task and the Global Forest Observation Initiative (GFOI)
  • Contributions of GOFC-GOLD LC to the development of global land cover validation efforts and the development of new databases
  • Progress on observing Land Cover as ECV
  • Update on the GOFC-GOLD Fire-implementation team
  • Update and planning for the GOFC-GOLD regional network activities
  • Present and discuss progress of the Biomass working group
  • Engagement with key international initiatives: partners and users: GEO, UNFCCC, GCOS, GTOS, IPCC, FAO, CIFOR, ESA, JRC, NASA, USGS, EEA, UNCBD, and others

2) Discuss the new orientations the GLC and forest mapping communities have taken after COP-18 and the needs for observing land cover as essential climate variable (ECV).

3) Review of the internal organization, general and specific objectives of the GOFC-GOLD including the place and role within the series of international bodies and initiatives regarding the on-going and emerging needs of the global land cover user communities.


Organizing Committee Leaders

GOFC-GOLD Land Cover Project Office and Wageningen University:
Brice Mora (brice.mora@wur.nl)
Martin Herold (martin.herold@wur.nl)
Antoinette Stoffers (antoinette.stoffers@wur.nl)

Session organisers:
Session(s) Co-host Organisers
REDD+ WG CIFOR Mora, Herold, Verchot, Achard
Land Cover Team Boston U./Wageningen U. Woodcock, Herold, Mora
Fire Team NASA Justice, Goldammer, Arino, Vadrevu
Land Cover validation CEOS Cal/Val WG Woodcock, Herold, Olofsson
Land Cover ECV GCOS Herold, Richter, Arino, Defourny
Regional Networks NASA-START Krankina, Justice, Hoffman
GEO GLC Task GEO Sarantakos, Mora, Arino
Plenary Session Wageningen University Herold, Janetos, Justice, Woodcock, Arino

General Agenda

The Symposium will start with a series of technical sessions (Monday, Tuesday) aimed at presenting progress made by the GOFC-GOLD Implementation Teams in their respective activities. The Plenary session on Wednesday will be an opportunity for GOFC-GOLD to present a summary of what has been achieved and what the future projects of GOFC-GOLD are. Panel sessions will provide an opportunity to GOFC-GOLD sponsors and partners to present their views on the leading role of GOFC-GOLD and what priorities the organisation should be aiming at in the future. The Plenary session will be followed by two other technical days dedicated to the presentation of the progress made in various national (REDD) and global land monitoring (GEO, ESA CCI) projects, and GOFC-GOLD Regional Network activities.

Sessions will start typically at 8:30 am and end at 5 pm.

Monday, 15
Tuesday, 16
Wednesday, 17
Thursday, 18
Friday, 19
Land Cover team meeting (1)
Fire team meeting (1)
Global Land Cover Validation
Fire team meeting (3)
Land Monitoring Symposium Plenary Session (1)
GEO GLC Task meeting
Regional Network meeting
REDD Working Group meeting
Lunch break
Lunch break
Lunch break
Lunch break
Lunch break
Land Cover team meeting (2)
Fire team meeting (2)
Internal GOFC-GOLD strategic meeting
Plenary Session (2)
Land cover ECV
Fire team meeting (4)
REDD Working Group meeting

Detailed agenda

Detailed agenda is now available in the general announcement document

Access and registration

Participation in the symposium is open to everyone with the expection of the Internal GOFC-GOLD strategic meeting on Tuesday afternoon which access is restricted.

There is no registration fee to attend the symposium.

IMPORTANT NOTE: due to the high number of registered participants, the registrations are closed (March 20).

List of participants

See last annex of this document


Wageningen University campus (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday)
Droevendaalsesteeg 2, 6708 PB Wageningen
Website: http://www.wageningenur.nl

Plenary session (Wednesday)
Hof Van Wageningen Hotel
Lawickse Allee 9, 6701 AN Wageningen
Website: http://www.hofvanwageningen.nl

Travel and Accommodation

Please make your own booking for travel and accommodation.

We blocked rooms in two hotels:

- the Hof Van Wageningen in Wageningen
Website: http://www.hofvanwageningen.nl
Telephone: +31 (0) 317 490 133
Fax: +31 (0) 317 426 243
Please make your room reservation in this hotel by February 28 to the latest, using this email address: info@hofvanwageningen.nl. Mention you are going to the participate to the GOFC-GOLD Symposium.

- the Reehorst in Ede.
Website: http://www.reehorst.nl/
Telephone: +31 (0) 318-750 300
Fax: +31 (0)318 750 301
Please make your room reservation in this hotel by April 5 to the latest, using this email address: info@reehorst.nl. Mention you are going to the participate to the GOFC-GOLD Symposium.

Advice: when booking your room, please contact the Hof Van Wageningen first as it provides a more convenient location to reach the Symposium venues located both on the campus of Wageningen University and the Hof Van Wageningen hotel for the Plenary session on Wednesday.

For people arriving by train, a scheduling tool is available here:
Trains to the Ede-Wageningen train station are available from Schiphol Airport (near Amsterdam) and it is possible to go directly to Ede-Wageningen train station. Note a short connection is sometimes necessary at Utrecht Central Station.

The Reehorst hotel can be reached by walk as it is 300 m away from the Ede-Wageningen train station.
For transportation from Ede-Wageningen train station to Wageningen, take bus line 88 to the terminus station in Wageningen. The Hof Van Wageningen is 200 m away (you will pass in front of it before reaching the bus station). Each travel costs 2 euros and the driver accepts coins.

Going to the Wageningen U. campus from your hotel

Please find in Appendix below map locations of the hotels and venues.
To reach the campus of Wageningen U. from the Hof Van Wageningen, take bus 88 from the bus terminal located 200 m away and get off at Droevendaalsesteeg stop (15 min travel). From the Reehorst take bus 88 from the Ede-Wageningen train station and get off at the Droevendaalsesteeg stop as well (25 mins travel). Each travel costs 2 euros and the driver accepts coins. You can get the bus time tables here:


GOFC-GOLD Land Cover Office logo European Space Agency logo System for Analysis, Research and training logo Group on Earth Observations logo Global Climate Observing System logo National Aeronautics and Space Administration logo Center for International Forestry Research logo Wageningen University logo

Appendix. Maps of the hotel and venue locations


Fig 1. General map showing Ede (where Ede-Wageningen train station is) and Wageningen locations


Fig 2. Location of the campus and the Hof Van Wageningen hotel in Wageningen


Fig 3. Venues on the Wageningen University campus. Main entrances of the Atlas and Lumen buildings are indicated with red dots.


Fig 4. Location of the Ede-Wageningen train station and the Reehorst hotel in Ede