Global Observation of Forest Cover and Land Dynamics (GOFC-GOLD)

Although remote-sensing earth observation data are readily available to scientists and other users in developed countries, access remains a primary challenge for developing country scientists, practitioners, and decision makers who need it to manage natural resources and develop coping strategies to reduce vulnerability to change. Through its partnership with the Global Observations of Forest and Land Cover Dynamics (GOFC-GOLD) project, START contributes to a coordinated effort to improve developing country access to existing data, increase scientists’ capacity to utilize and produce the data needed for research and resource management, and foster regional and international networks of scientists interested in forest cover and land dynamics.

START plays a major role in Fellowships to support periodic GOFC-GOLD Data Initiative and Advanced Training Institutes. During May 2012 and July-August 2014, START supported training that brought remote-sensing scientists from developing countries. Fellows were provided with access to USGS data archives and received training for writing grant proposals.

START promotes the participation of international scientists in the activities of 11 GOFC-GOLD Regional Networks and the GOFC-GOLD Implementation Teams that target land use and land cover change issues related to forestry, fire disturbance, agriculture, and carbon cycles. GOFC-GOLD Regional Workshops generate recommendations for data import and implementation to meet priority regional needs. Many such workshops offer targeted training for participants while also exposing them to larger communities of scientists.

The GOFC-GOLD project is funded by a grant from NASA. It is managed by the International START Secretariat, in partnership with USGS/EROS, the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University, the Department of Geographical Sciences at University of Maryland and others, in cooperation with the GOFC-GOLD Project Office and its Regional Networks. For more information, visit the NASA Land-Cover/ Land-Use Change website and the GOFC-GOLD Fire Monitoring and Mapping Implementation Team website.

For more information about GOFC-GOLD Networks see:

For more information about the GOFC-GOLD START program, please contact Senay Habtezion,


2015 GOFC-GOLD Data Training Initiative

The GOFC-GOLD Data Initiative Advanced Training will take place in July 20 – August 8, 2015. Nine fellows from Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Bulgaria, South Africa, Togo, India, Nepal, and Madagascar will attend this year’s training. Learn more about the 2015 Data Training Initiative and Fellows.


Workshop on the Role of Earth System Observations in Environmental Policy Support – Africa

As part of the GOFC-GOLD program, START convened a two-day scoping workshop on the role of Earth observations in the support of environmental policy and governance in Africa. This workshop was preceded by research involving six case studies led by thought leaders from five countries in Africa on current use, and the potential for future use, of Earth observations in policy formulation and implementation in Africa. Case study authors came together with representatives from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Bank, US universities, the US Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) and AfriGEOSS to take part in a scoping workshop held on December 4-5, 2014. The event was sponsored by NASA, as part of the GOFC-GOLD Program. Learn more about the workshop and case studies.


2014 GOFC-GOLD Data Training Initiative

During Summer 2014, START, in collaboration with the USGS/EROS Center and Boston University, supported eight Fellows from the GOFC-GOLD Regional Information Networks to access and use global earth observation data. Learn more about the 2014 Data Training Initiative and Fellows.


Regional Network Meetings

START has promoted the participation of international scientists in workshops and conferences of the GOFC-GOLD Regional Networks and the GOFC-GOLD Implementation Team. The regional and thematic workshops and conferences target land use and land cover change issues related to forestry, fire disturbance, agriculture, and carbon cycles and commonly generate recommendations as to regional data priorities and ideas for new data products and applications that meet regional needs. Since 2011, START has supported nine GOFC-GOLD Regional Meetings and Training Sessions. Learn more about the Regional Network Meetings.

Last Updated on July 27th, 2017




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