Global Forest Resources Assessments

Support to FRA desk studies

FRA collects data on forests every 5 years through Country Reports prepared by National Correspondents nominated by government agencies responsible for forestry. When countries or territories do not nominate a National Correspondent, estimated values for forest statistics are prepared by experts in FAO and published as Desk Studies.

In the FRA 2020 cycle, the Desk Studies will be prepared through remote sensing analyses, using both the new geospatial modules included in the FRA reporting platform and, if needed, through more analyses performed in the free cloud computing platform Google Earth Engine.

First, an analysis of all the freely available tree cover and land use maps at global and regional level will be done on the country, and a hybrid map produced in the FRA geospatial module #1. The hybrid map is produced with a wall-to-wall comparison of all the global and regional maps available. A level of agreement of 75% is used, the percentage reflecting the probability to find forest on the same pixel of each and every map considered.

If neither the hybrid map nor any individual global and regional map is deemed precise enough at country level, experts in the FRA team prepare a national land cover map in the cloud computing platform Google Earth Engine. The national land cover map is obtained with a supervised classification of cloud-free mosaics through machine learning algorithms such as Random Forest or CART.

For some other countries and territories without a National Correspondent, the land use and land use change areas will be assessed with Collect Earth using the same methodology of the FRA Remote Sensing Survey 2020.