Global Forest Resources Assessments

The University of Wageningen, FAO and CIFOR team up to analyse forest national data sources

The first global study on national forest monitoring capacities has been published in the Journal Environmental Research Letters, as a result of research led by the University of Wageningen and developed in close cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

The paper is based on the data that countries report at regular intervals to the FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA). The study shows substantial improvements in national forest monitoring capacities around the globe. An ever-improving data basis for national reporting on forest resources is emerging in the context of climate and development commitments, including the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.

Some of the key findings include:

  • about 85 percent of the global forest area is covered by a recent assessment based on remote sensing product or field inventory according to FRA 2020
  • highest quality data were used in FRA 2020 for reporting on 93 percent of global forest area and 85 percent of the growing stock
  • widespread capacity improvements in tropical countries can be linked to international investments for forest monitoring, especially in the context of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries (REDD+)
  • the study also shows a link between improvements in national capacities and improved governance


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