Boosting transparency of forest data

The national forest monitoring system (NFMS) assessment tool has been developed to support countries in performing a thorough capacity assessment of forest monitoring across three critical dimensions: institutional arrangements, measurement and estimation, and reporting and verification. This tool draws its foundation from FAO's Voluntary guidelines on national forest monitoring (VGNFM), incorporates the resources of the REDDcompass from the Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI), and leverages FAO's wealth of field experience in forest monitoring across diverse national contexts.


Why use the NFMS tool?

Establishing and operating a national forest monitoring system (NFMS) is a multifaceted endeavor that involves intricate scientific and technical aspects, as well as complex organizational and institutional challenges. It necessitates meticulous planning and the design of the scientific and technical components of the NFMS, alongside active support from government bodies and the various stakeholders engaged in the process. Frequently, a lack of institutional and individual capacity can hinder the long-term effectiveness of otherwise technically sound programs.

The NFMS assessment tool is designed to assist countries in enhancing their forest monitoring efforts by:

  • Facilitating a better understanding of the FAO’s Voluntary guidelines on national orest monitoring.
  • Identifying needs, gaps, and weaknesses, thereby enhancing the ability to focus a country's efforts and investments effectively.
  • Assisting in the organization of international cooperation and the development of a collaborative work plan with stakeholders and partners.
  • Assessing progress in identifying capacity gaps in forest monitoring.
  • Promoting harmonization of processes to establish a stronger and more resilient NFMS.


Who should use it?: The NFMS assessment tool has been tailored for use by various entities, including government bodies responsible for forest monitoring, educational and research institutions, the public and private sectors, civil society, and other key stakeholders.


How to use it?: The NFMS assessment tool provides an evaluation of an NFMS concerning key best practices, which are organized into three interrelated themes:

  1. Institutional arrangements.
  2. Measurement and estimation.
  3. Reporting and verification.

The NFMS assessment tool is an Excel-based resource, available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian or Spanish. It is accessible for free to all interested stakeholders, and it follows a five-step approach:

Step 1: Select language and country Users initiate the assessment by clicking "START" and then choosing their preferred language from the dropdown list on the second sheet. They also enter the country for which a capacity assessment is to be conducted, along with the assessment date.

Step 2: Identify gaps and needs in institutional arrangements In this step, the existing institutional capacities are assessed by clicking the "Institutional arrangements" tab.

Step 3: Identify gaps and needs in measurement and estimation This step involves evaluating elements of the NFMS related to preparation, implementation, and other technical and scientific aspects. Users can assess these elements by clicking the "Measurement and estimation" tab.

Step 4: Identify gaps and needs in reporting and verification In this step, the NFMS capacities associated with communication, dissemination, data documentation, and reporting are evaluated. Users can access this assessment by clicking the "Reporting and verification" tab.

Step 5: View the results of the capacity assessment In the final step, the results of the assessment, including the identification of existing capacities and gaps, can be viewed by clicking the "Analysis" tab.