FSN Forum

Consultation No. 140  

Online consultation on the development of a Global Core Set (GCS) of forest-related indicators

until 21 May 2017

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Dear Experts,

Today we would like to provide you with an update on the online consultation on the development of a Global Core Set of forest-related indicators, initiated by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF).

Below you will find the feedback from Mr Kit Prins, facilitator of the consultation, the summaries of the latest comments received, and the links to the replies of the facilitator to the individual contributions.

Please visit the webpage to read the contributions in full and to access the proposed global core set of forest-related indicators in English, French or Spanish.

We would like to encourage you to take advantage of these last days to share your suggestions on this important topic. Please post your comments online upon registration to the FSN Forum or send them to FSN-moderator@fao.org, where you can also contact us for any additional information.   

Looking forward to keep receiving your input,

Your FSN Forum team

Feedback from the Kit Prins, facilitator of the online consultation

Dear all,

A lively discussion continues, with many points of view and nearly all parts of the world participating.  I have counted 18 contributors, some representing groups and some contributing more than once.  I hope this continues.
Some of the debate has been quite detailed, but I would pick out the following, in addition to what I reported in my first overview.

Anna Antwi
  • For any indicator set, it is crucial to clearly articulate the objectives.  For the Global Core Set, these are to be derived from the high level policy commitments, notably the SDGs, the Aichi targets and the newly approved Global Forest Goals and Targets.  The forest community has an obligation to put itself in a position to supply information on progress towards the goals identified by policy makers, and the Global Core Set should streamline this process.

  • Should we have an indicator on wood energy?  (It is not actually mentioned in the high level commitments.  SDG 7.2.1 refers to renewable energy as whole.)
  • For policy instruments, it is not enough just to look at the existence of an instrument, but also its effectiveness.  But how to do this in a context of international indicators?
  • There seems to be consensus on dropping the indicators on recovery rates for wood and paper and on payment for ecosystem services.
  • On the other hand, some support maintenance of the indicator on carbon stocks and flows – or at least net GHG sink/source.  Otherwise it might appear that forests are not contributing to climate change mitigation.  Indicator 3 on above ground biomass does not cover the whole topic, it seems.
  • The situation and viewpoints of Low Forest Cover Countries must also be reflected.
  • The indicator on livelihoods (16) might be adapted to reflect the commitment to eradicate extreme poverty for all forest dependent people (Global Forest Target 2.1).
  • Indicator 7 (ODA) could be merged with indicator 11 (finance from all sources for SFM)
  • Doubts are expressed about how to formulate indicator 14 on forest health and vitality, but most seem to favour its maintenance whatever the problems.

Finally, the consultation must end on 21 May (this Sunday), as I should transmit the results to an Expert Consultation starting on 12 June.

Thank you all

Kit Prins


iconMarilise Wolf-Crowther, Eurostat, Luxembourg

Marilise Wolf-Crowther shares comments on most of the indicators, and argues for instance that regarding indicator 1 the concept of  “land area” should be specified, proposing to define it as land area without the area of inland water.

Read the contribution and Kit Prins' feedback

iconEmile Houngbo, National University of Agriculture, Benin

Emile Houngbo reacts to Kit’s comments on his earlier input. He for instance presents a definition for “degraded forest”, and argues that measuring poverty among “forest-dependent people” is extremely difficult, suggesting to consider instead “direct forest-dependent people”.

Read the contribution

iconJustine Mwanje, Uganda Forestry Association, Uganda

Justine Mwanje argues that several indicators negate the need to lessen the reporting burden and that the entire set needs to be revised as it is critically flawed. He introduces an alternative set of indicators based on internationally agreed common thematic areas of sustainable forest management.

Read the contribution and Kit Prins' feedback

iconZoltan Somogyi, Hungarian Forest Research Institute, Hungary

Zoltan Somogyi provides general comments in order to improve the entire set of indicators. He argues that indicators only have meaning in the context of specific policy goals, points out that this has not been taken into account in the proposal, and puts a number of suggestions forward in this regard. He also questions the usefulness of “qualitative indicators”, arguing that “sustainability” would be of a more “quantitative” than “qualitative” nature.   
In his subsequent contribution, Zoltan Somogyi reacts to Kit’s comments on his first contribution. He underlines the role the laws of nature should play in developing the set of indicators, highlighting that in previous occasions in which policy makers formulated certain ideas, these turned out to be unrealistic when scientists had to provide guidance in this regard.

Read the first and second contribution and Kit Prins' feedback

iconCornelia Ehlers, GIZ, Germany

Cornelia Ehlers posts a contribution she prepared with colleagues from GIZ. They recommend to drop indicators 19, 20 and 21 and argue that indicator 16 is very vague, wondering whether it is necessary to keep it. They also provide alternatives for indicator 18, such as “existence of national sustainable bioenergy policies” and “accessibility and availability of data on fiscal income from wood energy from sustainable sources”.

Read the contribution and Kit Prins' feedback

iconMostafa Jafari, TPS for LFCCs, Iran

Mostafa Jafari introduces the perspective of Low Forest Cover Countries to the discussion, and highlights that trees outside the forest also need to be considered in the set of indicators.

Read the contribution and Kit Prins' feedback

iconMeinrad Abegg, National focal point FRA, Switzerland

Meinrad Abegg provides comments on all the indicators, and argues for instance that regarding indicator 2, “forest area within protected areas”, the term “protected” is not clearly defined. He also thinks that indicator 11, “Official development assistance for SFM”, might be misleading.

Read the contribution and Kit Prins' feedback

iconGiovanni Sanuopoli, Università degli Studi del Molise, Italy

Giovanni Sanuopoli identifies a number of indicators that should be included in the Global Core Set, such as “forest mixture or tree species composition”, “extent of old growth forest”, “age structure and / or diameter distribution” and “average abundance of tree-related microhabitat per hectare”.

Read the contribution and Kit Prins' feedback

iconJingpin Lei, Chinese Academy of Forestry, China

In her first comment, Jingpin Lei stresses that it is very difficult to develop a Global Core Set of indicators as there are significant differences in local conditions.

In her second comment, Jingpin Lei argues that agreement on the definition of  “degraded forest” is lacking, that data collection for indicators 5 and 14 might be difficult, and that it will also be problematic to report on indicator 21. In addition, with regard to indicator 20 she argues that recovery rates for paper and wood are outside the scope of SFM.

Read the first and second contribution and Kit Prins' feedback

iconStefanie Linser, EFICEEC-EFISEE, Austria

Stefanie Linser shares specific suggestions but also more general thoughts: she strongly supports the selection of only up to 15 indicators, and highlights that these should also be of interest for related sectors like biodiversity, climate change or energy. Therefore, the core set should contain indicators that are for instance used by CBD, UNFCCC or UNCCD.

Read the contribution and Kit Prins' feedback