What’s next for Space Intelligence and nature investment? That’s the question we asked ourselves as we ended 2023 and looked ahead to 2024. But to look forward, we need to take stock of the last year.
For Space Intelligence, it was our biggest year to date. We hit a number of milestones across all functions of the business and made significant progress on our mission: to end deforestation and drive mass restoration by providing the highest quality nature mapping data.
In 2023 we…
Doubled our team size
We added new team members to all of our functions in 2023, ending the year with over 50 employees to provide the capacity we need to service client demand for high quality insights on forest carbon projects. This included adding four new PhDs to our mapping science teams, in addition to the 10+ PhDs already on staff. Bringing world-class scientists onboard has always been our priority to ensure scientific rigour in the data we produce that the voluntary market and beyond relies on.
We also bolstered our commercial, engineering, and operations teams significantly. New leadership hires across these functions joined us after long tenures with companies including Microsoft, Nasdaq, and PayPal to expand our product offerings and client operations.
Produced mapping data across 4 Continents, 12 Countries and 3 National Maps
From Indonesia to Brazil, and Canada to Cambodia, we produced high quality habitat and carbon maps across a wide and varied set of ecosystems in Europe, Africa, South America and South-East Asia.
We also produced mapping data (a range of land cover and forest/non-forest data points) across three entire countries: Scotland, Kenya, and Tanzania. The latter two were contracted by Verra to provide the baseline activity data for Verra’s new Jurisdictional REDD methodology, which was announced in November 2023.
Covered more than 500m hectares and 109 land cover classes
We identified wind-blown trees in Scotland, flooded forests in the Amazon, and mangroves in Indonesia – and in total we categorised more than 100 land cover classes across more than half a billion hectares.
The ability for accurate classification of detailed land cover classes, at scale, is becoming increasingly important to ensure deforestation rates are measured accurately within the VCM, but also to assess land use change for support of corporate ESG disclosures and initiatives like the TNFD and EUDR.
It is only with the powerful combination of forest ecologists, geospatial data scientists, and machine learning programs that this can be delivered. Our teams work hand-in-hand to build, train, and validate the ML models that deliver data at scale – ensuring they take into account factors that can impact results, such as seasonality, when mapping and measuring habitats.
Shared Nature-based Insights with More than 1,000 Listeners
2023 also marked the launch of The Nature-Based Solutions podcast; featuring guests from ICE, Green Gold Forestry, FlintPRO and more to share their unique perspectives on the nature market.
Over 1,000 of you listened to the podcast in 2023 and we look forward to launching season 2 in the coming months to continue to share insights from the varied voices of the nature-based solutions market and beyond.
Stay up to date with future episodes by signing up to our monthly newsletter, Field Notes, and subscribing through Apple or Spotify podcast platforms.
Our Vision for 2024
While 2023 is in the rear-view, our mission remains the same and there is much to be done in evolving and scaling the nature markets.
To support this, in 2024 we will expand our data products to enhance the depth and frequency of insights we provide to the market (stay tuned for more here), and also release our new web platform that we’re developing with support from Equinor.
It’s also natural to have hopes or predictions for the year ahead – but we like to focus on hopes that we can turn into a reality.
We view 2024 as the year that will usher in carbon markets 2.0: a hugely scaled market, but one underpinned by integrity. While the past 12 months was a volatile period for REDD+ projects there have been continued advancements of both standards, such as Jurisdictional REDD, and the quality and depth of nature data insights that can give the level of transparency into impact that is needed to unlock the funding required.
To give the world any chance of hitting climate targets, there has to be large scale emissions reductions AND large scale protection of the existing forests that act as carbon sinks. It is not an either-or.
We look forward to working with you all on this journey and protecting our collective future.