Monitoring Systems

Developing a forest encroachment monitoring system: GeoT is partnering with Laval University

Laval University and GeoTraceability will work together to develop a forest encroachment monitoring system adapted to large-scale sourcing operations in developing and emerging countries. 

Deforestation and biodiversity loss are major issues in many supply chains, including palm oil, cocoa, coffee, soya and beef. Pierre Courtemanche, GeoTraceability’s CEO, said, “The system being developed will send automated alerts to our customers when their sourcing areas are at significant risk of deforestation and land use conversion.

"Customers will receive an email or SMS with details of the location and the magnitude of the risk. Digital maps will let customers see exactly where the risk is, allowing them to validate the risk and take action,” Courtemanche explained.

Martin Béland, professor in the Geomatics department at Laval University, said, “The system will be able to monitor medium to large areas covering hundreds to thousands of square kilometers, using the latest technology in remote sensing and data analysis.”

The team from Laval is composed of three professors, a professional researcher and two graduates. They will develop an application to continuously query satellite imagery, which will be used to analyse possible changes and issue alerts.

GeoTraceability will develop the web interface for receiving and displaying the locations and details of alerts. The system will also send notifications to customers and provide ‘validation’ functionalities. GeoTraceability will identify opportunities to test the system with customers in countries where deforestation risk is significant.

The collaboration between GeoTraceability and Laval University is being funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. The project is due to last three years. Both organisations are excited about this project and the benefits it will have for users of the system. We look forward to communicating the results of the project in due course.

For further information please contact Steven Ripley (, Program Manager at GeoTraceability, or Martin Béland (

GeoTraceability Presents an Innovative Biodiversity Module

GeoTraceability has developed technologies to collect data on key biodiversity indicators and together with implementing partner Armajaro, has already populated a web database with over 10,000 cocoa producing hectares in Ghana.

Through the IFC-funded Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Program (BACP), GeoTraceability has developed in partnership with Armajaro Trading Ltd. and Bioversity International, a methodology to collect, process and analyse data on key biodiversity indicators on cocoa producing fields in Ghana. Some key indicators are: number of shade trees per hectare, carbon stock, vegetation structure and succession, native and exotic tree dominations, primary tree uses (from which we can deduce cash and food value), land uses adjacent to the farm.

“Tropical rainforests are estimated to account for more than half of the plant and animal species on earth. Around the world, an estimated 27,000 species are lost each year due to the destruction of the rain forests. The single most important factor in species extinction is the destruction of habitat that occurs with forest conversion for agricultural purposes.” (Sustainable Tree Crops Program, International Institute for Tropical Agriculture).
Users of the module can expect to gain key insight on factors like shade pattern, species diversity and dead trees which can impact cocoa production, carbon stock potential on cocoa farms for carbon storage programs and primary tree use to inform farmer training programs. Biodiversity data can highlight areas to unlock income potential for farmers and companies, such as farms which are already good candidates for certification. The data can be used to target particular farms, communities or regions for programs such as shade tree seedlings.

A key success of the module is the translation of highly scientific, technical content into a user-friendly and digestible format. This shows GeoTraceability’s capability to handle complex data collection projects and deliver bespoke reporting tools.

GeoTraceability is partnering with Verious Stakeholder to Develop a Child Labout Risk-Assessment Methodology on Cocoa Farms

GeoTraceability is partnering with International Finance Corporation, Armajaro Trading Ltd, Ergon Associates, Source Trust, International Cocoa Initiative and, through Ghana Cocoa Board, Ghanaian cocoa farmers to develop, test and validate a rapid assessment module designed to ‘flag up’ potential child labour risk areas.

The project will identify a set of indicators and develop a rapid assessment tool that will be applied to 2,200 cocoa farmers in 2 districts in Ghana designed to ‘flag up’ potential child labour risk areas to support the National Program for the Elimination of Child Labour in Cocoa. The work will add to the data collected at a large scale by Armajaro in Ghana to collect information on farmer profiles, farm size and shape, agricultural practices and cocoa production. This module should be available by the end of 2013.