The JRC produces land cover maps and land cover change statistics valid at global to regional level. A flagship product of the JRC's work is the GLC2000 (Global Land Cover). In the framework of the FAO Forest Resource Assessment, JRC produces estimates on land cover change over the tropics (years 1990-2000-2005 and 2010) derived from Landsat-type satellite imagery. In early 2014, a specific assessment on Protected Areas in Africa will be released. The Land Resource Management Unit of the JRC Institute for Environment and Sustainability focuses on Land Cover at the global scale and within the ACP region, and the JRC Forest Resources and Climate Unit specialises in forest aspects.
The JRC works closely in a collaborative partnership with the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010 (FRA-2010) Remote Sensing Survey (RSS) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to calculate rates of forest cover changes for current and previous decades. We monitor forest cover changes for all tropical sites (circa 4,000 sites). The survey is based on the analysis of 20×20km areas for which 30m resolution satellite (Landsat) data were collected for different dates (1990, 2000, 2005, 2010).
JRC works with the international scientific community in order to provide scientific support and tools for the formulation and implementation of policies related to drought and desertification. Desertification to a large degree is indeed caused by inadequate and unsustainable land use under adverse climatic conditions, which all too often is linked to poverty and the lack of alternatives for subsistence. The problem is recognized as global, but in particular affects Africa. The European Commission is a signatory to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
A new World Atlas of Desertification (WAD) is being compiled under the coordination of the JRC, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
JRC is a partner in the DEWFORA (improved Drought Early Warning and Forecasting to strengthen preparedness and adaptation to droughts in Africa) project, which has a dedicated map viewer for data visualisation and download.