Forest monitoring and assessment
Experience rooted in the past
Reliable forest-related information is essential for planning, policy development and sustainable forest management, and for meeting international reporting requirements. FAO is playing a leading role in this field, making use of its decades of experience in supporting countries worldwide to develop national forest monitoring and assessment systems.
FAO is fully equipped to respond to increasing demand for forest resources assessments in the context of climate change. The forest monitoring and assessment team is composed of experts in field inventory; remote sensing; REDD+ monitoring; measurement, reporting and verification (MRV); information technology; policy; and socio-economics. The team works in close collaboration with subject specialists, national governments, partner organizations, civil society and the private sector, and benefits from strong external support and a growing commitment to forest monitoring and assessment in FAO member countries.
Adapted to country needs
FAO-supported field inventories cover forest and land resources, trees outside forests, and forest-dependent livelihoods. They are customized according to countries’ needs and include a wide set of biophysical and socio-economic variables that can be interpreted to provide harmonized information on the social, economic and environmental benefits of forests and trees and their management, uses and users. Data from the field are handled with a variety of software tools, allowing flexible approaches to data management, user-defined variables, data structure and data checking.
Looking to the future
The forest monitoring and assessment team is building a comprehensive toolkit to support the full forest inventory lifecycle. Tools are being designed, tested, applied and improved to ensure their relevance and practical value to users and beneficiaries, with the goal of helping to build sustainable capacity and promoting south-to-south cooperation. Specific tools are available now to support needs assessment, design, planning, field data collection and processing, estimation, analysis and dissemination, as well as remote sensing image processing. FAO is looking forward to further assisting its member countries to measure their forests and to building an ever-clearer picture of the global resource.