Global Forest Resources Assessments

Year in review: the Global Forest Resources Assessment

© FAO Joan Manuel Baliellas

The Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reflects on a productive and enriching year for understanding the status and trends in forest-related variables across the world.

With a transparent and traceable reporting process and officially nominated National Correspondents that span 191 countries and territories, the FRA team is pleased to share the various accomplishments of the last year to progress FRA 2025 and the Remote Sensing Survey.

“The dedicated and consistent efforts of FRA experts, National Correspondents, alternates and collaborators proved most valuable in 2023, evidenced by 16 successful regional data collection and remote sensing workshops, a multitude of validated country reports, and several highly regarded publications and learning materials” said Anssi Pekkarinen, FAO Senior Forestry Officer.

FRA 2025 regional workshops

The FRA 2025 reporting process was launched in early 2023 with the following regional workshops to support National Correspondents with data collection:

Moreover, the FRA team organized a second round of workshops for several regions in which greater support was needed to finalize the country reports:

In total, participants in the FRA 2025 data collection involved 299 National Correspondents, their alternates and collaborators from 157 countries; 70 of the participants were women (24 percent). Throughout the year, a number of country reports have been reviewed, finalized and sent for validation.

Remote Sensing Survey workshops

Throughout 2023, the FRA Remote Sensing Survey (RSS) experts also held several workshops to help countries utilize advanced remote sensing tools and satellite imagery to produce independent and thorough analyses of forest area and its changes over time at global, regional and biome levels.

In October 2023, the workshop “Remote Sensing Survey and capacity development national workshop for Zimbabwe” was held in Harare, Zimbabwe, to instruct participants in generating forest area and forest area change statistics with remote sensing. The collaboration between the Forestry Commission in Zimbabwe and FRA (established in 2017) facilitated the implementation of the FRA 2025 RSS to detect land use and land use change in the country for up-to-date statistics.

The regional workshop “Monitoring tools available for forest and landscape restoration in the Mediterranean region” took place with remarkable success in Barcelona, Spain, in November 2023. The five-day event built the regional capacity to monitor forest and landscape restoration as a part of the project “The Paris Agreement in action: upscaling forest and landscape restoration to achieve nationally determined contributions”.

Publications and educational material

Based on FRA 2020 RSS samples, the report “How much do large-scale and small-scale farming contribute to global deforestation?” was published in May 2023. This study measures the share of agriculture-based deforestation from small-scale and large-scale farming, including both crop and livestock production.

The first participatory global study on mangroves and their dynamics, "The World's Mangroves 2000–2020", was launched at the 6th International Mangrove Macrobenthos and Management Conference of the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem in Cartagena, Colombia, in July 2023. Based on this report, the fascinating interactive story “Unlocking the secret of mangroves: Mapping and tracking mangrove forests to safeguard these ecological treasures" was also launched in July. 

The Forest Kids video game obtained exciting updates this year, such as the release of the new memory game where users can match pairs of animals and plants within their biomes. With over 10 000 users since launching in November 2022, Forest Kids is available online, on the App Store for iOS devices and on Google Play for Android users as a fun tool to teach younger generations about the importance of forests and forestry.

Moving forward

Looking into 2024, FRA efforts will focus on data analysis and the production of FRA 2025 results that will be published and disseminated near the end of 2025. At the same time, the team plans to conduct another global FRA RSS to be carried out in 2024 and 2025 and finalized by the end of 2025.

“In anticipation of a prosperous year for forest data collection, FRA is delighted to continue collaboration with a well-established network of experts to advance knowledge on the extent condition, management and use of forest resources” said Anssi Pekkarinen.

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