A SCOTS firm has launched a world-first platform incorporating the global locations of forest protection and restoration projects into a world map.

Edinburgh-based Space Intelligence has unveiled GOOD-COP (Global Overview of Delivery of Carbon In Operational Projects), which also offers supporting data on carbon storage, biodiversity and historical deforestation around the world.

The company said the platform helps improve transparency and understanding of the forest carbon project market, to help ensure that money goes to the best projects, so the world’s habitats are protected and restored cost-effectively.

Its release was timed to coincide with COP26 in Glasgow, and gives a powerful visual demonstration of how the world is taking action on the climate through investments in avoided deforestation and reforestation projects.

It features an easy-to-use reference on a dynamic map for anyone with an interest in understanding the distribution of forest carbon projects globally, along with links to source documentation.

This is the first time voluntary sector forest carbon projects from around the world have been presented interactively in one map.

As such, the platform allows users to see where projects are, and to review their projected performance, all in one place, which could prove useful to groups who want to compare the biodiversity, carbon storage, or past deforestation of different projects within a region, or of a particular type.

It includes all forest projects certified by the largest certification player Verra under their Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), as well as those certified under the Plan Vivo Standard, and the Woodland Carbon Code. VCS is the world’s most widely used voluntary carbon project standard, with more than 1700 certified projects collectively reducing or removing more than 630m tonnes of carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere.

Plan Vivo is the largest standard for communities, with around 16,000 smallholder farmers and indigenous and forest-dwelling people benefiting from its carbon credits so far.

The Woodland Carbon Code is the dominant standard for UK forest carbon projects.

Carol Blackwood, geospatial platform lead at Space Intelligence, who led the development of GOOD-COP, said: “Bringing this data together in a single map to tell the story of what is happening around the world is extremely valuable.

“The mapping highlights where real change is already happening thanks to these forest carbon conservation projects and where there’s potential for more impact.

“The roadmap for GOOD-COP will see us adding even more depth to the platform with performance metrics, as well as the addition of more projects, enabling us to delve into the data to create powerful insights for users interested in tackling climate change and biodiversity loss through voluntary carbon offsets.”

Ed Mitchard, the company’s chief scientific officer and co-founder, said: “Putting together this spatial database has been an even bigger challenge than we had expected, with it taking us nine months to get to this stage.

“Hopefully by having done this work we can help kick-start and improve transparency in the forest carbon project market, ensuring money flows to good projects and thus ensuring the world’s natural habitats are protected and restored.”

Murray Collins, Space Intelligence CEO and co-founder, said: “Climate change and biodiversity loss are the twin environmental challenges of our time.

“As the world’s leaders and corporations gather in Glasgow to make net zero investment commitments to address these challenges, there is a rapidly growing need for information on forest carbon projects in a single platform.”

Adam Gibbon, founder of NatureBased Ventures, which advises investors and implementers of nature-based solutions projects, added: “In order to get finance flowing at scale to nature-based enterprises we need to increase understanding in the investor community.

“GOOD-COP is a step forward on this front. Investors, and other interested parties can get an at-a-glance overview of projects around the world, highlighting how much has been achieved, but also how much potential remains.”

The GOOD-COP site is now live and freely accessible: www.space-intelligence.com/goodcop.