The summit will be a key moment to move forward both on climate action and biodiversity hotspots. It will gather heads of States and governments, leaders of international organisations, financial institutions, private sector, international NGOs, think tanks and research centres, indigenous people’s organisations and civil society.

Earth-orbiting satellites have clearly demonstrated that they are key assets in monitoring the world’s forests and detecting deforestation, by enabling us to better understand the roots of forest degradation.

Border between Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire

Pléiades satellite image, acquired on 22 February 2019, on the border between Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire


The Starling digital platform was developed by Airbus and the Earthworm Foundation to accurately monitor forest cover change driven by agriculture expansion, to link observed deforestation and degradation to a given supply chain and ultimately to take actions. It uses a combination of optical satellites - such as Copernicus Sentinel and Airbus Defence and Space’ own SPOT satellites - as well as radar satellites which can see below the forest canopy.

Zooming in on Africa, Starling is widely used in tropical regions, and especially by the Côte d’Ivoire’s state-owned forestry office SODEFOR to quickly identify potential illegal cocoa expansion in protected areas of this West African country, thereby preventing deforestation before it happens.

Cocoa plays an important role in the Côte d’Ivoire’s economy: the industry is worth five billion dollars in exports, with around 40 percent of the world supply estimated to originate from there. However, it is estimated that a substantial percentage is grown in protected areas, giving a glimpse of the threat this poses overall to the country’s forests.

This is where Starling technology plays its part. It can spot forest disturbances below the canopy, for example, enabling detection of cocoa being grown in the at-risk Cavally Forest Reserve with a 94 percent accuracy rate. Alerts from Starling helped SODEFOR take quick and targeted action, resulting in a 93 percent drop in the deforestation rate between 2018 and 2021.

The reduction of deforestation risk in the Cavally forest has fostered significant investments made by both private and public organisations, tackling the root causes of deforestation and supporting social and economic development.

Starling’s success in the Côte d’Ivoire is a forerunner of how this achievement can be more widely applied.


"Starling has been essential in finding a long-term solution to protect the Cavally Forest, an important forest area in Cote d'Ivoire. With its innovative technology and platform, Starling allowed us for the first time to see beneath the forest's canopy and spot cocoa being grown in the shade within the protected area. This was ground-breaking."

Colonel Mamadou Sangaré. Director of SODEFOR


All users, such as public institutions, local authorities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) can benefit from full forest cover change mapping via the Starling digital platform, delivering analytics that depict land use change over the longer term. This proves essential  to provide reliable and scalable solutions to support land use planning and policy enforcement. From reacting to these events, all stakeholders are then empowered to anticipate and prevent further deforestation.

Academics and research organisations also find the Starling digital platform data layers useful for leveraging data modelling as well as research and development in overarching topics such as carbon retention and climate.

For businesses across the supply chain, Starling is used to bring objective and timely data to support decision making and action, while ensuring traceability. Several key agro-industry players are already using the tool to meet their deforestation-free supply chain targets.

Beyond having access to satellite imagery, it’s all about having an end to end approach. This means looking at the dynamics of forest cover change and understanding the specifics of supply chains, including the huge diversity of local players involved. It’s about empowering true action. Starling supports many to do just that.