Papua New Guinea Multipurpose National Forest Inventory

Papua New Guinea (PNG) comprises the eastern portion of the New Guinea Island, which contains the third largest tropical rainforest after Amazon and Congo Basin. Currently PNG’s tropical rainforest is relatively well conserved. Nevertheless, the forest is coming under increasing pressure especially through logging, but also from clearing for agriculture. Despite their extent, size and rich diversity, PNG forests are poorly known scientifically. 

With the completion of a National Forest Inventory (NFI), PNG will be able to accurately estimate Green House Gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation for participating REDD+. Beyond REDD+, NFI will make a significant scientific contribution to the understanding of PNG’s tropical rainforest and the biodiversity within for sustainable management.


Papua New Guinea’s first National Forest Inventory (NFI) is designed as a multipurpose NFI, which will collect information not only on timber volume but also on non-timber forest products, carbon stock, soil characteristics, biodiversity in both flora and fauna, and socio-economic aspects of PNG forests. It has progressed taking a two-phased approach:

  • In the first phase, remote sensing based forest assessment was conducted to stratify the forest in PNG. Clusters of plots in each forest strata were created and located throughout the country.
  • These clusters will be subjected to field inventory work, the second phase of the NFI.

The NFI, funded by the European Union and the UN-REDD Programme, is implemented by FAO in partnership with PNG Forest Authority (PNGFA) with the collaboration of various national and international institutions such as the New Guinea Binatang Research Center, the PNG University of Technology, the University of PNG, Sapienza University of Rome, University of Queensland, University of Tasmania, University of Melbourne, Forestry Practices Authority in Tasmania, and receives support from Crawford Fund and the Mountain Partnership.

Project objectives

The overall objective of the project is to contribute to the implementation of PNG’s policies and measures for climate change mitigation. It aims to support the PNG Forest Authority to implement a continuous and multipurpose NFI which is a key component of a National Forest Monitoring System that PNG is required to establish to participate in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) forest mitigation activities known as REDD+.

Methodologies and tools

FAO collaborated with several countries including PNG in the development of "Open Foris Collect Earth", a GIS point sampling tool. PNG has conducted national forest and land use assessment using Collect Earth and the information was used for national reporting.

PNG is also using other Open Foris tools such as Collect, Collect Mobile and Calc. These tools are well received by PNG experts and significantly contributing to successful NFI implementation.

Fostering awareness and community relations

Around 97% of land are under customary tenure in PNG. Raising awareness and fostering good community relations are key aspect to ensure that the NFI work progresses.

Awareness and reconnaissance activities are being undertaken which include meetings between PNGFA and the landowners to get consent for the assessment teams to access the forests.

Assisting neighboring countries

To expand the success of PNG on advancing the forest monitoring system to other Pacific islands countries, PNG hosted a regional workshop in cooperation with FAO in December 2017. The workshop was well received by the participating countries. Solomon Islands and Vanuatu later organized their study tours to visit the PNG NFI project in February and April 2018.

More advanced cooperation in the region is expected.

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