Knowledge reference for national forest assessments - information management (annotated bibliography)
6. Reporting and communication
It is a challenge to effectively share information among the many stakeholders involved in the often-conflicting use of forests� The different needs and the forms of access of knowledge have to be ascertained in an iterative process of knowledge management. It is important to present information and knowledge in an interesting, easily available and digestible form. FAO's information system WAICENT provides a consolidated source of information in the field of natural resource management. Until we have a more appropriate system to capture, access, control and share tacit knowledge, information technology will not be utilised to its full potential. Clearly, decision-making at the political level cannot be based on explicit information only. Tacit input from stakeholders is a fundamental ingredient of democracy. Not all of the stakeholders in forestry have access to advanced technology. Tacit knowledge requires a system of tabulating social, technical, geographical and institutional experience within an easily accessible database.
The study has general applicability to efforts to communicate scientific information to nontechnical audiences. How to address aspects of the environment valued in different regions. It is especially concerned with combinations of indicators. The study is helpful as a template for further work on developing effective communication tools for technical environmental information.
Confusion is conceivable, and even likely, if a country reporting on forest carbon stock changes for UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol on the one hand, and for the Global Forest Resources Assessment process on the other hand, proceeds without coordination and produces conflicting information on a forest environmental service for which markets and market prices may emerge in the near future. Furthermore, coordination of reporting would present a unique opportunity for reducing country reporting burdens and for improving the quality of assessment and reporting. Overlapping reporting obligations are discussed. UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol and the Marrakesh Accord grant a significant role to forests in climate change mitigation. The agreements establish strict reporting obligations which also cover forests and the procedures for carbon stock change assessment. Country reports on carbon stocks in forests and their changes overlap with information contained in FAO's forest resources assessments; discrepancies between these sources of information have already emerged and could cause confusion in the future. Divergence currently results from ill-defined terms and inconsistent country reporting, as well as from inadequate knowledge of and methodologies for carbon stock change assessments.