National Forest Monitoring and Assessment - NFMA
As a result of insufficient forest information and poor data quality in many countries, planning regarding forest management and develpment of scenarios may lack accuracy. Consequently, forest policies are not in tune with real conditions and the needs of users, in particular the needs of rural populations.
Information improvement was targeted by the Intergovernmental Panel of Forest (IPF), the Intergovernmental Forum of Forest (IFF) and the Committee on Forestry (COFO) as an area of significant importance towards better forest policy formation. All three have emphasized the need for policy frameworks and institutional arrangements that foster the participation of civil society in forest decision-making and improved cooperation across sectors based on enhanced data collection, assessment and reporting on forests.
With NFA, FAO supports countries to close the existing knowledge gap. This is done by working in national partnerships in implementing systematic field inventories, establishing forest information services, and thus enabling enhanced analyses of the forest sector for the country as a whole. This provides a basis for analyses and planning at the national level, broadens the knowledge base on forests and forestry in the country, and helps enhance national capacities to monitor forest developments.
The assessments place local uses of forests and trees in the center, thus focussing on information related to real world management decisions and factors affecting these decisions. Statistical rigour makes it possible to aggregate findings to the national level. The approach creates new knowledge not only about overall national averages of important variables, but also on variations in these within the country. Furthermore, it will be possible to identify and quantify interactions and interdependencies in forest uses. In conclusion, the approach can help improve analyses of the national forest sector and provide a sound basis for policy development and monitoring.