My group aims to improve our use of the plethora of Earth Observation satellites now in orbit to map the properties of, and changes in, the forests and peat swamps of the tropics. Here's a snapshot of the satellites currently orbiting Earth:
We can use these to make maps of deforestation: for example here is a figure of global deforestation from 2000-2012 I made using this dataset produced by Matt Hansen and colleagues at the University of Maryland using data from the Landsat satellites (brighter colours mean a greater proportion of that 10 km pixel was deforested over the period).
However we cannot currently produce maps like these of forest degradation (where some trees are removed from an area, but it remains forest), nor of growth/regrowth, or of the massive amounts of carbon stored below the trees in peat swamps. Using various different satellites (particularly high resolution optical, radar and LiDAR) and data from our drones (we have fixed wing Delair Unmanned Aerial Vehicles fitted with a Reigl VUX-1 and MicaSense sensors) we are trying to address this and improve the information we can obtain from satellites.