Sustainable forest management, monitoring, assessment and reporting in Asia-Pacific
Regional Training Workshop on Strengthening Monitoring, Assessment, and Reporting on Sustainable Forest Management in ASEAN
5 May 2009 - 7 May 2009
Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
Summary: The Regional Training Workshop on Strengthening Monitoring, Assessment, and Reporting on Sustainable Forest Management in ASEAN took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during 5-7 May 2009, organized by the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) in collaboration with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the MAR Project. Forty-two persons attend the training workshop from 9 countries and 3 organizations. The workshop aimed to review the status of countries’ application of MAR formats, introduce the developed ASEAN C&I framework and its online format to participants, and receive their feedback for further improvement. Questionnaire surveys with member states illustrated an urgent necessity for institutional strengthening and capacity building to provide information on non-wood forest products (NWFPs), forest carbon stock, and endangered forest-dependent species as well as to adjust classification of protected forest areas. Then participants of nine countries presented progress and challenges in forest MAR. They pointed out limited capacities of FMU for data collection using C&I, lack of stakeholders’ interest in MAR activities, difficulties in data collection for specific indicators (e.g., carbon stock, etc.), discrepancies in data formats among different data sources, and a need for translation of online formats into local languages. It is crucial to develop human resources in member states by disseminating online MAR systems to national and local stakeholders. Participants suggested improvement of the MAR online system with ASEAN C&I, such as further clarification of footnotes with enough texts. Then they discussed recommendations for further development of MAR with C&I in the ASEAN region: (a) assessment of an adequate indicator set which is relevant to the national and FMU levels in each country; (b) organization of follow-up training for trainers and technical officers at regional, national and FMU levels; (c) Research in assessment of forest-dependent flora and fauna as well as endangered/rare species, quantification of NWFPs, and valuation of forest ecosystem services with sufficient funds; (d) Effective coordination for inter- and intra-agency collaboration, especially to provide information for indicators at a national level; (e) development of appropriate and cost-effective tools to obtain temporal and spatial data for indicators, including remote sensing and GIS technologies; (f) inclusion of some critical variables for a future C&I framework, such as planted forest, resource ownership and use rights, and role of forest in climate change mitigation and adaptation; (g) preparation of the C&I format in local languages to enhance its implementation in countries; (h) facilitation by the ASEAN Secretariat in sharing of experiences among member states to implement a clearing house mechanism (CHM) using the C&I format; and (i) Development of networking with other international organizations, covering their reporting tools, to encourage harmonization of forest-related reporting with C&I through ASEAN. The training workshop on ASEAN C&I proved that it was a valuable tool to assess forest management capacities in member states, whereas also showing that it would still be necessary to improve the C&I format and increase countries’ capacities for more effective application.
National workshop on forest MAR - India
22 April 2009 - 23 April 2009
Summary: A national workshop on forest monitoring, assessment and reporting (MAR) was held with central and regional officers at the Forest Research Institute (FRI) in Dehradun, India during 22 – 23 April 2009, focusing on application of the national Criteria and Indicator (C&I) system to enhance sustainable forest management (SFM). Participants presented and discussed an overall C&I framework, institutional capacities for application of C&I and experience in C&I testing in six states. Participants provided various recommendations on better application of C&I in India. It was necessary to supplement knowledge of forest inventory, including sampling techniques, statistical packages, computer sciences, etc., in order to provide better data using C&I. Skill development was required for periodical surveys on flora and fauna, socio-economic variables, and fire or pests at local level, assisted by thematic experts. Participatory approaches could also facilitate data collection for thematic indicators such as biodiversity. Estimation of unrecorded removals from forests should be further strengthened in collaboration with local stakeholders. Integration of forest information systems with other information systems and village-level database should be supported at FMU level. This could be undertaken by devising small FMU-level pilot projects. More vigour and precision should be maintained in data collection at the FMU level. Therefore, current technologies of geo-informatics should be applied in every state forest department should with an exclusive unit for application of GIS/Remote Sensing and GPS for forestry data collection and management. Building on C&I data, forest management plans and guidelines (e.g. forest management codes) should be developed to enhance SFM. The Government of India was expected to come out with a proposal to build up institutional capacities with proper staff and budget for successful implementation of forest MAR and SFM in the country. The national network should be further strengthened with various participants, accompanied by a website with regular updating for easier information sharing. C&I for SFM has emerged as an important tool for monitoring, assessing and reporting of forest resources to achieve sustainable development in the country. Outcomes of pilot studies on national C&I in six states should be shared with other states for its finalization and implementation in the country.
Pacific Workshop on Monitoring, Assessment and Reporting on Sustainable Forest Management
17 November 2008
Summary: The Pacific Workshop on Monitoring, Assessment and Reporting (MAR) on Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) was held in Nadi, Fiji during 17 - 18 November 2008, organized by the Department of Forest of Fiji and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in collaboration with the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC). Main objectives of this workshop was to review the status of forest MAR programmes and discuss next steps of collaboration, including development of a sub-regional network in Pacific island countries (PICs). Nineteen persons attended the workshop from 14 countries and 4 organizations. The SPC provided results of the study on forest MAR in selected South Pacific countries which they conducted under the support of the MAR Project. Questionnaire surveys and field visits revealed gaps between countries’ needs and capabilities to collect forest-related data, taking examples of Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) 2005. Based on their results, a list of criteria was suggested by defining a “least common denominator” on forest-related information which would be important for all PICs and as a basis for harmonized MAR systems in the region. The study led to recommendations for: designing a common MAR system concretely; setting up a coordination unit for MAR by creating a sub-regional expert pool; and providing countries with cost-effective technical assistance together with partner organizations, while covering sophisticated expertise and equipment. An internet platform was also suggested as an electronic communication network. Participants suggested: (i) a need for consideration of diverse conditions in Pacific islands for development of national MAR systems; (ii) expansion of collaboration with Pacific countries under the regional network and common umbrella programmes; and (iii) simultaneous facilitation in both international- and national- level harmonization of reporting systems and formats on forest resources. They generally agreed to develop an electronic network of experts on MAR in Pacific. However, there was also advice on careful network design for sustainable maintenance with good security. Participants presented progress in national MAR activities and their next steps. Some countries made substantial efforts to improve national MAR after the MAR workshop in Nadi in October 2007, such as establishment of permanent sample plots, mapping and data analysis on forest resources, and broadening of field data collection. They stressed further needs for capacity building of technical staff to improve forest resources information.
Regional Workshop on strengthening of harmonization of national reporting to FRA 2010 and other international processes on forests in Asia
13 October 2008 - 16 October 2008
Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
Summary: The Regional Workshop on Strengthening of Harmonisation of National Reporting to FRA 2010 and Other International Processes on Forests in Asia was convened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during 13 - 16 October 2008. The workshop aimed to facilitate harmonization and streamlining of national reporting to international processes in the Asian region and provide technical assistance to national correspondents of FRA 2010 to ensure high-quality reporting in line with its specifications. Sixty-two persons from 22 countries and 5 organizations participated in the workshop. Presentations and discussions were made on international reporting systems and formats, the status of countries’ reporting to FRA 2010 and other international processes, and the scope of harmonization of international reporting on forests. Participants’ discussions highlighted crucial issues on reporting harmonization. Coordination among different national agencies and programmes is essential to update and harmonize reporting processes effectively in each country, while maintaining the consistency in national definitions. Terms, definitions, and classifications of forests should be simple and flexible enough in order to be easily adapted to national definitions and ensure consistency in forest area assessment within a country over time. Following in-depth revisions of FRA 2010 draft country reports during working group discussions, the issue of revising previous FRA estimates was discussed for countries where the availability of updated and more reliable figures affected the consistency of the trend in forest areas over time. Participants pointed out inconsistent terms and definitions among international processes and national organizations, limited reporting capacities on specific thematic aspects, dispersion of data among various agencies, and lack of communications among them. Free data accessibility by reporting organizations is crucial for efficient and accurate reporting. Key reporting issues on major indicators discussed during the workshop suggested a necessity for substantive efforts to collate forest-related information with various organizations at the national level. Participants acknowledged the efforts of international and regional organizations to streamline and harmonize international reporting, whereas requesting international organizations to further strengthen harmonization of terms, definitions, classifications, and indicators for coherent reporting by countries. Many countries made substantial progress in reporting to the FRA 2010, whereas some were still facing difficulties in advanced reporting for specific thematic variables. Capacity building of national staff was recommended for enhanced data collection and assessment. Development of a joint information framework and a common format with the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) and individual reporting processes will be beneficial for countries to facilitate consistent reporting. Coordination among national agencies and other stakeholders will also have to be strengthened to promote national- and regional-level harmonization of forest-related reporting. Positive partnerships between FAO and other international organizations should be maintained to secure optimal harmonization of international reporting processes.
Mid-term Tripartite review meeting on strengthening MAR on SFM in Asia
16 September 2008 - 19 September 2008
Summary: The Tripartite Mid-term Review (TPR) Meeting on the Project “Strengthening Monitoring, Assessment and Reporting (MAR) on Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) in Asia (GCP/INT/988/JPN) was held at the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (FAORAP) in Bangkok, Thailand during 16 - 19 September 2008. The purpose of the meeting was to review achievements of the MAR Project and elaborate a plan of project activities until December 2010. Thirty persons participated in the meeting from FAO, a donor country (Japan), and 18 project countries. The meeting was comprised of presentations and discussions on the scope, outcomes, technical and operational issues, and next steps of project activities. Countries presented overall situations of national MAR systems and outcomes of collaboration with the MAR Project such as study and development of a national MAR system, above all application of criteria and indicators (C&I) for sustainable forest management, implementation of the National Forest Assessment (NFA), development of national networks for harmonization of forest MAR, and awareness workshops. Their presentations highlighted needs for harmonizing MAR approaches among countries and strengthening technical capacities of national stakeholders. There was also a need for balancing regional and national activities for better synergy and complementation. They discussed operational issues to manage sub-regional and national activities efficiently, such as partnership with other organizations. Then participants focused on priority activities for the remaining period, such as regional training workshops and sub-regional/national programmes on harmonization of international reporting, field inventories, and database management systems. High-level policy dialogue with decision makers was also suggested to advance MAR activities in countries. Participants generally agreed on the effectiveness of project activities achieved until now, while suggesting strengthening of project implementation for the remaining period. They underlined the significance of concentrating efforts for developing harmonized MAR techniques and improving national capacities to apply them. Coordination with related programmes of FAO and other organizations is essential to facilitate coherent project implementation. National MAR programmes should be accelerated to enhance capacity building of government staff in close linkage with the project. Outcomes of project activities at global and national levels should be disseminated among Asia-Pacific countries by developing regional or sub-regional MAR networks. The Project Management is requested to take necessary action according to the recommendations made.
Technical consultation meeting - Philippines
26 August 2008
Summary: A meeting was held with related officers at the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) in Manila, Philippines on 26 August 2008 for discussions on the status of the national forest MAR program and other FAO programs and coordination with other forest MAR programs. Under the national MAR program, the FMB have carried out identification of focal points on Criteria and Indicators (C&I), review of the C&I framework, and training to private companies on C&I audit systems. Although the general C&I framework was feasible in the Philippines, local stakeholders may have not yet been comprehend its application in the field sufficiently. C&I indicator sets would need to be simplified due to their limited capacities for data collection, while collaboration among related field offices (forestry, environment, agriculture) would have to be built up for broad data collection. The C&I audit system was tested with good initial results, but collection of some data would have to be reinforced, including profits and sustainability of timber production assessed from annual growth rate and annual allowable cut and forest zoning with various functions. Streamlining and harmonization of data provision needed to be facilitated between C&I and FRA with NFMA. The FMB was re-evaluating the forest boundary to fix forest areas accurately. It was expected that the NFMA could contribute to the identification of forest areas. The FMB distributed reporting tables under FRA2010 to regional offices of the DENR and other concerned agencies. The central FRA focal point visited four regional offices of DENR to guide regional FRA focal points on generation of requested data through calibration and reclassification of forest inventory data. Nine out of the seventeen DENR regional offices have submitted data to the FMB. Some key tables were being filled out then, including Tables 1 (forest extent), 2a (forest ownership), 3a/b (designated function), 4a (forest characteristics) and 6a (growing stock). Several issues cropped up in reporting work, such as accommodation of ownership categories (especially private ownership of trees on private or public land), categorization of forestry species among perennial crops (Coconut is utilized to produce timber), and classification of indigenous or introduced species (Some naturalized species like mahogany are difficult to distinguish.). The past practice of field monitoring under the National Forest Assessment (NFA) Program from 2002 to 2005 significantly contributed to improvement of reporting to FRA on actual forest resource conditions. However, improvement of the NFMA (NFA) manuals would be required to adapt field monitoring results to actual land use conditions. The issue was that data from the rectangular sample plots of 20 m x 250 m could not yet verify actual land use conditions in sampling tracts or larger areas, causing serious errors in land cover estimation. Assessment of each type of land area using the latest land cover map could be combined with field monitoring with sample plots to enhance accurate forest cover assessment. Some methodologies should further be clarified, such as assessment of proportion of tree cover with crown canopies, accurate assessment of tree biodiversity possibly by using transect methods, and specific methods for assessment of soil carbons or dead litters rather than heavy dependence on a default value in the guidelines of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2006. The FMB required further technical assistance to apply the new NFMA manual in the Philippines with training to central and regional staff on analysis and interpretation of data and database management systems with applied software.
Preliminary meeting of a national network - Indonesia
3 July 2008
Summary: A preliminary meeting for a national network on forest monitoring, assessment and reporting (MAR) was held with various related organizations at the Ministry of Forestry (MoF) in Jakarta, Indonesia on 3 July 2008. Presentations were made on the national network, FRA 2010 and other on-going MAR programs in Indonesia. Other stakeholders besides the MoF attended the first national network meeting, including the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS), JICA, and NGOs such as the Conservation International and WWF. These stakeholders underscored the significance of harmonizing forest-related definitions and classifications, better integration of statistical and graphic data, and cost-effective satisfaction of international and national demands for forest information. Coordination among these agencies will facilitate the effective exchange of data and institutional experience in forest MAR and socio-economic aspects. They were concerned about the dispersion of data sources at different organizations particularly during the decentralization of forest management practice during recent periods, suggesting a need for centralized data management. At the same time some participants expected the role of the national network to facilitate consistent data collection at the provincial level by disseminating the MAR format. An imminent challenge was how data could be updated on forest and land conditions throughout Indonesia periodically, covering monitoring of forest encroachment. It was crucial to list competent organizations that collected good forest-related data through the national network to provide relevant information effectively to international processes. NGOs and universities would be ready to cooperate with the MoF to provide updated data on forest conditions in collaboration with national institutes, although overlapping forest-related data would need to be cross-checked for authentification. Because it might take a long time to officially inaugurate the national network on MAR by the government decree, the attendants suggested a flexible approach to its organization by setting up an informal forum within the MoF. The process of official correction and endorsement of collected data in or outside the network would need to be discussed later. Attendants underscored the significance of harmonizing forest-related definitions and classifications and better integration of MAR data for easier use and reporting to international processes. Based on meeting discussions, the national network will be managed as a forum in a flexible way to facilitate discussions among stakeholders. Capacity building of participating stakeholders would need to be considered for development of forest MAR. An initial process will be studied for sustainable development and management of the national network and formulation of its work plan. Even though the MAR format was almost completed with an online clearing house mechanism using 7 criteria and 59 indicators, the MoF still faced the lack of data to fill it out. Integration of the on-going MAR process into the Forest Resources Information System (FRIS) under development would be essential. Development of the NFI was supported by the World Bank and FAO from 1988 to 1996, followed up by the MoF. Coordination among various data sources would be essential for integration of forest data, renovation of sample plots for the whole country and consistent calculation of deforestation rates among different satellite sensors.
Workshop on the National Format for Monitoring, Assessment and Reporting on Sustainable Forest Management in Cambodia
20 June 2008
Cambodia, Phnom Penh
Summary: The Forestry Administration (FA) held a national workshop on a national format for forest monitoring, assessment, and reporting (MAR) in Cambodia with 45 participants from central and local forestry offices at the Forestry and Wildlife Training Center in Phnom Penh on 20 June 2008. The workshop aimed at deliberations on the Cambodian format of 2008 for sustainable forest management (SFM) using Criteria and Indicators (C&I) for its finalization. Prior to the workshop, a draft MAR format was prepared through study and meetings with government officers. The draft format built on ASEAN and international requirements for forest MAR with the revised ITTO C&I format in 2005, but accommodated to the national policy on forest management, including forest types and categories. Seven criteria and fifty-nine indicators were reaffirmed in the national C&I framework, encompassing forest resource conditions and their changes, biodiversity conservation, land protection, harvest planning, economic benefits and institutional linkages. The participants discussed the applicability of the proposed national format with questions and suggestions on the national forest MAR format. Several technical terms needed to be further clarified, such as: (i) the extent of forests versus the forestry jurisdiction; (ii) suitable forest categories; (ii) identification of virgin forests and their changes; (iv) determination of private forest ownership on a temporary or permanent basis; (v) national forest conservation status vis-à-vis IUCN categories; (vi) forest conversion policies; (vii) economic benefits or incentives and their sharing; and (viii) institutional frameworks on SFM. It was necessary to study methods of data collection on historical changes of forests. Non-permanent forest estates (non-PFEs) would not be relevant to the Cambodian context without clear definitions. Permanent and non-permanent forest estates (PFEs) should be redefined in connection with land titles under the national land tenure regime. Assessment of forest boundaries and production forests would not be easy due to the lack of updated data as well as divergent land demarcation policies among government agencies. Forest cover maps of 2002 would be the basis of forest assessment, using GIS. Forest concession under private management would have to be reclassified in the Cambodian context, including state-owned forest management. Apart from financial resources, human resources would also have to be assessed carefully as their deficiencies are a serious problem on forest management in Cambodia. Coordination with the Technical Working Group on Forestry and Environment (TWG) and the Project Steering Committee was essential for officially authorized collection of data on forest extent, forest tenure status, and funding for forestry programs. Techniques of carbon assessment needed to be transferred to national staff, as they are not yet familiar with this issue. Following up these discussions, the proposed national MAR format will be finalized for dissemination to national and provincial officers. The issue on the national MAR format would be limited capacities of local stakeholders to fill it out with accurate data. The next step is to improve field capacities to collect data to fill out the MAR format, exploring the feasibility of pilot testing at selected sites to try field data collection with capacity building.
National Network meeting - Pakistan
23 January 2008
Summary: The first meeting of the national network on forest monitoring, assessment and reporting (MAR) was held with its members at the Ministry of Environment in Islamabad, Pakistan on 23 January 2008. Its objectives were to introduce and discuss activities of the network in accordance with the guidelines provided from FAO as well as examine imminent issues on forest MAR in Pakistan. Members of the national network included related divisions of the Ministry of Environment, Pakistan Forest Institute, WWF, Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), SUNGI Development Foundation, National Land Use Plan, Pakistan Wetland Programme, Sustainable Land Management Project, etc. There was suggestion that the national network focus on standardization of forest definitions before evaluating and proposing standard methodologies on MAR out of concern about the absence of common and standard definitions in Pakistan. There was also an argument that woody biomass should be the main indicator of sustainable forest management instead of forest area or number of trees. The network was expected to work proactively on sharing of information and data for sustainable land use planning, eliminating undue restrictions on the use of spatial data. A common procedure would have to be adopted to discriminate between strategic and non-strategic data and write to concerned authorities to release non-strategic data without going into lengthy procedures for obtaining permission. The Forestry Wing of the Ministry of Environment would have to be upgraded to serve as a hub of information on forest and related fields. After this meeting, all member organizations were requested to send their proposals to the Ministry of Environment on standard definitions of forests for discussions at the next meeting.
Workshop on MAR for SFM in the South Pacific Region
10 October 2007 - 12 October 2007
Summary: The Workshop on Monitoring, Assessment, and Reporting for Sustainable Forest Management in the South Pacific Region was implemented in Nadi, Fiji during 10 - 12 October 2007 in collaboration with the Department of Forest of Fiji, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (GPC), German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), and South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC). Its main objective was to enhance the forest MAR system in South Pacific countries. Twenty-five participants attended the workshop from 9 South Pacific countries and 5 organizations. Various technical aspects of MAR were presented and discussed, including: concepts and outcomes of the MAR Project; national forest inventories (NFIs); thematic assessment (biodiversity, biomass, carbon); Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) 2010 and other international reporting; remote sensing/GIS; Land Cover Classification System (LCCS); database management; policy development processes; National Forest Assessment (NFA) in the Philippines; other countries’ or organizations’ experiences; and initiatives for regional collaboration on forest MAR. Countries shared some experience in national forest inventories (NFIs), satellite monitoring with LANDSAT and Mapinfo, international reporting, and policy development by forecasting future timber production. Nevertheless, participants felt a necessity for capacity building to improve forest resources assessment. Questionnaire surveys also highlighted countries’ immediate needs for harmonizing concepts and methods of forest MAR. Participants also pointed out the difficulty in continuing NFI surveys due to the lack of financial resources in their countries. They were concerned about limited national capacities to expand the scope of forest resources assessment to broad aspects such as carbon and biodiversity. They were very interested in assessment of tree crops which were not categorized as forest resources under the current FRA definitions, including coconut. Participants shared a necessity to harmonize, broaden, and integrate forest MAR with appropriate models and approaches in South Pacific countries. FAO recommended elaboration of a common programme to support harmonization and broadening of forest MAR for a long period by strengthening regional collaboration, including formulation of a long-term umbrella plan on MAR for South Pacific countries and development of sub-regional/national networks for sharing knowledge and experience among countries and collaborating organizations. FAO was expected to update and accommodate guidelines on MAR so that countries stay abreast of current methodologies. Participants advocated development of suitable models and technologies accommodated to South Pacific countries. Integrated decision making systems should be further discussed for effective forest management.
Training Workshop on broadening, harmonization and cross-sectoral integration of national forest inventories in Asia Pacific region
26 March 2007 - 31 March 2007
Summary: The Training Workshop on Broadening, Harmonization and Cross-Sectoral Integration of National Forest Inventories in Asia-Pacific Region was organized by the MAR Project in collaboration with the State Forestry Administration (SFA) of China and INBAR in Beijing, China during 26 - 31 March 2007. Its main objective was to strengthen national monitoring, assessment, and reporting (MAR) systems in the Asia-Pacific region with the overall goal of mainstreaming forestry at the national level. The workshop also aimed to facilitate exchange, transfer, and share knowledge as well as capacity building through South-South Cooperation among countries. Fifty-eight participants assembled from 19 countries as well as the above three organizations. Results of rapid surveys on national forest inventories (NFIs) were presented. All the nominated participants were deeply engaged in survey processes that were synthesized in technical sessions of the workshop. Participants briefly presented sampling designs of their NFIs. This provided brief but deep insights into their NFI designs. Their participation in the rapid surveys greatly enriched the quality of discussions during the workshop. The survey also motivated them to set up an Asia-Pacific network of experts on NFI in Asia-Pacific countries, inviting experts on ground surveys and remote sensing. Participants presented and discussed statistical methods, biomass and carbon estimation, scenario development, and environmental accounting during the workshop. They also highlighted management of data generated from NFIs and mobilization of funds to implement regular and timely implementation of NFIs. The workshop provided a relevant opportunity to share information on national capacities and enhance regional collaboration. Workshop discussions brought out similarities, differences, strengths, and weaknesses in NFIs, while indicating information gaps and providing alternative sampling designs. Discussions indicated that even though some relevant NFI data existed, only a few countries were using these data in policy formulation and planning. Participants requested FAO to take a lead initiative for capacity building of related staff for data analysis and reporting. In addition to a common decline in financial resources to implement NFI, participants highlighted the growing shortage of technical staff for ground inventories as well as aerial photo interpretation, because new generations were less and less interested in taking up such high stress assignments. The workshop encouraged a long-term process to continue technical dialogue for harmonization, broadening, and cross-sectoral integration of NFIs by strengthening the Asia-Pacific network of experts on NFI. The network was expected to organize virtual thematic meetings and annual workshops to enhance cooperation among countries, increase exchange of information and continue dialogue on NFIs.
National Network meeting - Cambodia
7 February 2007
Cambodia, Phnom Penh
Summary: The first national network meeting was convened with 36 participants at the Forestry Administration (FA) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 7 February 2007 to discuss development of forest MAR in collaboration with the MAR Project and other programmes in Cambodia. Participants discussed project activities, the current MAR system in Cambodia, and organization of a national network for forest MAR. Cambodia applied a framework of criteria and indicators (C&I) made up of 43 criteria and 74 indicators with field studies for formulation of guidelines for sustainable forest management. However, their data sets and definitions had to be reviewed carefully to be more adapted the national MAR system. Institutional collaboration (FA, MOE, etc.) is also vital to complete all forest-related data. The FA accumulated certain expertise on forest resources assessment through collaboration with various international organizations, including field inventories, remote sensing/GIS, and land classification. Nevertheless, its data collection capacities had to be further improved for harmonization and broadening of MAR in connection with FRA 2010, covering forest biomass and other variables. Harmonization of MAR-SFM will need to be further deliberated among existing mechanisms in Cambodia. Participants suggested flexible approaches in designing its structure. They shared common understanding of the network through clarification by the MAR project. They stressed that network meetings be organized in conjunction with meetings of the Technical Working Group on Forestry and Environment (WG-F&E). Then the participants decided to establish a smaller network with more homogeneous structure around the FA to manage project activities and discuss issues on harmonized MAR with related stakeholders.
National Network meeting - Vietnam
31 January 2007
Viet Nam, Hanoi
Summary: The fist meeting of the national network (NN) was held with 12 participants at the Department of Forestry (DoF) in Hanoi, Vietnam on 31 January 2007 to introduce the MAR Project and discuss development of the national MAR system in Vietnam. Participants’ discussions highlighted strengthening of MAR in Vietnam. A national network for MAR should be developed to satisfy capacity building needs for MAR, propose an effective C&I system, improve monitoring and reporting systems, and strengthen the regime for sustainable forest management. It should initially be established at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) with the Forest Inventory and Planning Institute (FIPI). Another case of national network development such as the SAMBA project (the Mountain Agricultural Systems Project) for the extension sector would be informative to the MAR network. The FIPI worked on standardization of interpretation systems of forest-related data for national forest inventory (NFI) through organization of a workshop. They also initiated uniform forest and land use classification with the DoF, referring to the Training Workshop of FAO on Harmonization of Land Cover and Forest Classification in Remote Sensing - Asia Pacific Region in Dehradun, 4 – 8 December 2006. International organizations such as GTZ and WWF collaborated with the DoF to develop MAR in Vietnam. WWF was undertaking digitized mapping on forest resources which could be shared with the project. GTZ supported state forest enterprises for sustainable forest management in five provinces, assessing forest resource conditions using the QuickBird imagery. They also convened two workshops to discuss establishment of forest assessment systems, suggesting the forest management information system. Participants suggested elaboration of specific objectives of the national network such as planning of a baseline survey of the current MAR system to propose development of criteria and indicators (C&I) for the MAR system. They also stressed the significance of organizing a working group within the DoF to develop C&I for sustainable forest management. Finally, the Vice-Director General of DoF recommended formulation of a five-year plan for MAR and a specific activity plan for 2007, focusing on network development and capacity building for forest classification, based on a base line study. The Government of Vietnam developed national forest-related MAR systems with relevant institutions through remote sensing and GIS, field inventory, and statistical surveys. The government was also developing a nationwide information system for effective collection, reporting and dissemination of forest-related information. However, its capacity was still limited for harmonization of the national MAR systems across various stakeholders owing to divergent forest classifications arising from different data sources and shortage of competent staff. Consolidation of different data sets into a common database system and development of human resources on information technologies and forest resources surveys were highly important for harmonization and enrichment of the national MAR systems in line with international guidelines.
Training Workshop on Harmonization of Land Cover and Forest Classifications in Remote Sensing - Asia Pacific Region
4 December 2006 - 8 December 2006
Summary: The Workshop on Harmonization of Forest and Land Cover Classifications using LCCS for Asia-Pacific Region was held by the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), Global Land Cover Network (GLCN), and the MAR Project in Dehradun, India during 4 – 8 December 2008 in collaboration with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) and the Governments of Italy, Japan, and Netherlands. Its main objective was to train participants in reviewing and analyzing remote sensing-based forest classifications in their countries to facilitate harmonization and standardization of MAR at regional and sub-regional levels. Presentations were made on the GLCN, Land Cover Classification System (LCCS) and GeoVIS, harmonization processes, Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) 2010 and its remote sensing survey, satellite-based forest monitoring, and experience of India in satellite-based forest monitoring. Participants learned operation of the LCCS and GeoVIS software for classification of forest and land cover in their countries. Then they discussed harmonization of forest and land cover classifications in their sub-regional groups using LCCS. They found both similarities and differences in individual national classification systems, requiring further efforts for harmonization at both regional and national levels. Participants suggested a need to refine clear and precise definition of land use types and incorporate feedback from end-users to LCCS in different languages for its better integration through assessment of their information needs. A standardized format in a common language was also advocated to ensure the interpolability of LCCS. Participants discussed harmonization of forest and land cover classification in breakout groups. Many countries still had problems of inconsistent and ambiguous forest classification systems during the past decades. They suggested development of a matrix of harmonization of forest/land classifications in comparison to existing systems of national land cover classifications, using the LCCS classification and coding system. LCCS and GeoVIS were found to be generally useful to promote harmonization of forest and land cover classifications, but would require further improvements with user-oriented definitions to be adapted to more heterogeneous ecosystems in the Asia-Pacific region. Participants also pointed out a need to develop a specific module for forest classifications together with countries, as the current version of LCCS did not fit all forest classes very well. Countries’ capacities for remote sensing and LCCS will have to be strengthened through technical improvement and coordination among national institutions. It is essential to follow up on harmonization of forest/land cover classification systems based on LCCS through collaboration with related organizations, observing technical progresses in each country.
National Network meeting - Vanuatu
20 November 2006 - 24 November 2006
Vanuatu, Port Vila
Summary: The first meeting of the national network on MAR-SFM was convened with 13 participants at the Department of Forestry (DF). The meeting aimed to introduce the MAR project to participants and discuss issues on related activities. Presentations were made on the MAR project and related activities in Vanuatu. The participants discussed project activities, development of national networks, harmonization of MAR, and forestry policies. The existing user group of the Vanuatu Resource Information System (VANRIS) would be a core part of the national network on forest MAR. Stakeholders of MAR included national government agencies (DF, Department of Lands, Survey, and Registry (DLSR), Department of Statistics (DS), etc.) provincial governments, customary communities and land owners, forest industry, and non-governmental organizations (NGO). The main constraint on the MAR network was low institutional capabilities and awareness in the public and private forestry sectors to monitor and manage forests and tree resources sustainably. Vanuatu had to update the natural resource information system and the forest resource information system with the DLSR that was collecting new sets of map data with high-resolution airborne radar imagery and LANDSAT TM7. Forest cover and land use in VANRIS were out of date as extracted from aerial photos of 1984 - 1986. Old maps were not reliable for application of GPS in TM maps. The NFI of 1993 was out of date. The DS was ready to update socio-economic information such as population by periodical census. Suitable detection technologies needed to be studied to assess wood and non-wood resources outside forests. Most of the woodlots are small-scale and scattered in different locations with diverse species of planted crops. An effective information system needs to be developed at the central government level for collection, updating, management, and dissemination of forest-related information to various organizations. It is essential to standardize and harmonize a national forest land use classification system coherent data collection. The DLSR classified forests as dense forests, less dense forests, scrubs and grassland, while the DF classified them into much more detailed categories based on forest structure and dominant species. Detailed classification of forest types was important for conservation of biodiversity, ecological surveys, forest inventory, forest management and timber harvesting. Reporting to international processes encountered problems due to out-of-date information as well as long, complex and less relevant information gathering. The government lacked human resources for reporting in the environmental sector, supplemented by NGO. The DF utilizes the National Forest Inventory and woodlot surveys with provincial governments to make policy decisions on forest management. Logging companies also provide information on their production forests for the next planning and decisions of the DF. Sustainable yields of timber are determined for each island on both small and large scales of harvesting. Timber volume is estimated within proposed harvesting areas to make sure that the operation is viable. Updated maps are essential to make plans for timber harvesting and woodlot establishment.
Regional Workshop on Development of Regional Umbrella Annual Plan of Activities under the MAR-SFM Project
31 October 2006 - 2 November 2006
Thailand, Chiang Mai
Summary: The Regional Workshop on Development of Regional Umbrella Annual Plan of Activities under the MAR Project was held in Chiang Mai, Thailand during 31 October – 2 November 2006. Twenty-five participants assembled from 19 countries as well as the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. The workshop aimed to introduce a concept of a regional umbrella programme (RUP) for forest MAR and develop a regional umbrella plan of activities (RUPA) under the project until the end of 2007 by assessing countries’ situations and needs and sharing their experiences in forest MAR. Objectives of the RUP is to harmonize national forest MAR systems by developing national networks, harmonizing MAR information, and strengthening policy development and planning through better use of MAR information. Participants discussed the RUPA by defining priority regional and national programmes with estimated budgets, participating countries’ responsibilities, and modes of collaboration with FAO at global, regional and national levels. Three countries (India, Mongolia, and New Zealand) presented their experiences in developing national networks. India established a network to strengthen monitoring mechanisms, harmonize international reporting processes, and enhance policy interventions in SFM at the national level. Mongolia organized the first meeting of the network to discuss its structure and functions and its members’ responsibilities. While introducing its MAR systems in indigenous and plantation forests, the success of the MAR system was attributed to shared needs, political commitments, partnership with stakeholders, clear standards for “true and fair” information, and voluntary supply of data in New Zealand. The three presentations revealed diverse approaches to network development. India sets up a more formal national network, while New Zealand actively involves the private sector. Participants proposed activities for forest MAR in line with principles of the RUP through group discussions. They identified common needs for diagnostic studies on forest MAR, awareness promotion and capacity building. They requested FAO to play a catalytic role in harmonizing MAR through capacity building to enhance the commonality of the project for countries. Development of national networks was given the first priority in most of the countries.
Inception Workshop – Strengthening Monitoring, Assessment and Reporting on sustainable forest management in Asia
24 July 2006 - 28 July 2006
Summary: The Inception Workshop on the Strengthening Monitoring, Assessment and Reporting (MAR) on Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) in Asia was convened in Sapporo, Japan during 24 – 28 July 2006 in collaboration with the Forestry Agency of Japan, International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), International Network on Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), and FAO-Norwegian Project. Thirty-four participants from 18 countries and 9 organizations presented and discussed forest MAR activities at this workshop. Its main objective was to introduce the project (GCP/INT/988/JPN) to national focal points, discuss forest MAR situations at both global and national levels, and deliberate on a project work plan. A joint open forum with participants in the 17th Montreal Process (MP) Group Meeting and a field visit also took place. Participants presented and discussed concepts and programmes of the project, methodologies on MAR, cases on MAR in member countries and other countries, and international processes. Participants’ discussions addressed countries’ and international communities’ immediate needs for developing cost-effective MAR methodologies linking with existing national monitoring systems, strengthening capacity building at a field level and harmonization among international reporting processes with a common format. Participants underlined the significance of stocktaking situations and needs of project countries to elaborate project activities. They deliberated on establishment of national networks of MAR experts to streamline and harmonize forest-related reporting and enhance major stakeholders’ participation in planning and policy development for SFM using forest-related information. There was a consensus on the overall focus of the project to stimulate synergies of MAR activities at the national level, based on needs defined by individual countries. Workshop participants suggested development of national networks, assessment of countries’ situations and needs for forest MAR, and improvement of information management and communications within and among countries. The project decided to organize a regional consultation workshop to develop a detailed proposal for project activities in October 2006.
last updated: Tuesday, August 4, 2009