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Prospecting Nature-Based Carbon Credits Using an Interactive Mapping Tool

On the 22nd September, at the World Economic Forum - Champions for Nature event during Climate Week NYC 2022 in New York, an interactive mapping software application supporting the prospecting, management, and development of nature-based carbon credit projects was launched across the world.

NUS Professor Koh Lian Pin (right) and his research team collaborated with ST Engineering Geo-Insights to develop the Carbon Prospecting Dashboard. The dashboard pictured on the screens helps policymakers and investors identify the location of nature-based projects, and calculate the estimated yield of carbon credits and return-on-investment and quantify the co-benefits of the projects. Image Credits: National University of Singapore

The Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions (CNCS), a research center under the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Science, and ST Engineering’s satellite data and geospatial analytics business, ST Engineering Geo-Insights, jointly developed the open-access platform (, also known as the Carbon Prospecting Dashboard.

By aiding investors and policymakers find where nature-based projects can be established as likely sources of high-quality carbon credits, this novel dashboard helps in the conservation of carbon-rich, natural ecosystems, like tropical forests and mangroves. Based on user-defined expectations—like price, project duration, and carbon costs—the platform allows users to estimate the projected production of carbon credits and their financial ROI.

Also, the platform enables users to measure the other positive benefits of projects, for instance, guaranteeing clean water supply, enhancing food security, and preserving key biodiversity regions. Data on such added benefits can help raise the search for high-quality carbon offsets and the price transparency of carbon credits.

Enabling carbon prospecting

The Carbon Prospecting Dashboard will aid in compensating for key research and development gaps that have hindered the employment of nature-based climate solutions worldwide. The dashboard is a product of freshly published peer-reviewed studies and ongoing research headed by CNCS researchers.

Such gaps comprise indecisions over where the most capable carbon stocks are situated, how upcoming rises in carbon costs will improve the economic scenes of nature protection, and where natural ecosystems are advantageous to society largely.

At present, the need for high-quality nature-based carbon credits exceeds the supply. Carbon is increasingly appreciated as a commodity. The dashboard aids in shortening the usually complex and expensive carbon-prospecting process by discovering the most capable carbon project sites to offer the biggest advantage for biodiversity, climate, and people.

With deforestation as a key contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, preserving nature via high-quality carbon projects can aid in turning off the tap of emissions while facilitating the downfall of the quantity of carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere. The dashboard supports businesses, governments, and public society to work with nature in order to address climate change and biodiversity loss—the dual global crises.

This made-in-Singapore dashboard could be a game-changer for nature-based climate solutions globally. Carbon finance has the potential to channel much-needed funding to forest and mangrove conservation to tackle climate change and safeguard precious biodiversity.”

However, the lack of timely access to reliable data on the costs and benefits of prospective projects has been a major obstacle for many nature-based carbon projects to get off the ground. With this platform, policymakers and investors have the information they need at their fingertips.

Professor Koh Lian Pin, Director, Nature-based Climate Solutions, National University of Singapore

ST Engineering brings to this joint effort its geospatial analytics capabilities and experience in providing value-added insights to broad industry sectors. This cloud-based platform for carbon prospecting will position us well in the future development of a digital Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification platform to expand our nature-based carbon solutions toward decarbonization.

Mr Goh Ing Nam, General Manager, ST Engineering Geo-Insights

Protecting and restoring forests, mangroves, and other carbon-rich ecosystems is essential if we are to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change. and the science it is based on comes at a critical time for our planet and helps make protecting nature more accessible, more investable, and better able to scale at speed.

Dr M. Sanjayan, Chief Executive Officer, Conservation International

Professor Hugh Possingham, Queensland Chief Scientist in Australia, states, “Nature-based carbon solutions could solve a third of the climate-change problem; protecting and managing intact habitat delivers more than just carbon, it can also slow the extinction crisis. Tools like this will make it easier for companies and states to become carbon and nature positive.”

Professor Stuart Pimm, Doris Duke Professor of Conservation at Duke University, says, “To protect biodiversity—and stop the deforestation that contributes to so much carbon emissions and global heating—we need to know where the forests and their carbon are. This vitally important tool provides that information.”


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