El Mecanismo para la Restauración de Bosques y Paisajes

Innovative monitoring of forest and landscape restoration in the Mediterranean region

From 10/11/2023 to

Location: Barcelona, Spain

10 November 2023, Barcelona – A regional workshop on “Monitoring Tools Available for Forest and Landscape Restoration in the Mediterranean Region” was convened in Barcelona, Spain, from 6 to 10  November 2023. The five-day event was organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) with financial support from of the Union for the Mediterranean, and was hosted by the European Forest Institute’s Mediterranean Facility.  

Designed to build regional capacity for monitoring forest and landscape restoration outcomes, this workshop was implemented as part of the Mediterranean regional component of the project “The Paris Agreement in Action: Upscaling Forest and Landscape Restoration to Achieve Nationally Determined Contributions,” which is funded by the International Climate Initiative and led by FAO’s Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism (FLRM) for the period 2018–2024. 

The workshop provided a unique opportunity for Mediterranean countries from the European Union, and the North Africa and Near East region, to come together and learn, following a regional approach fully focused on the Mediterranean region. The training session offered hands-on learning by guiding experts from Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia and Türkiye, on using the tools developed by FAO to monitor ecosystem restoration for the purposes of guiding management actions and planning. By facilitating knowledge sharing on personal expertise, participants also benefited from learning about the experiences, challenges and successes of others in neighbouring countries in the region. 

During the first two days of the workshop, technologically advanced tools for monitoring ecological restoration were demonstrated to show how they can be used to inform future planning and managing decisions on restoration in the Mediterranean region. These tools include: 

  • Collect Earth Online, a tool for land-use data collection to establish reference levels and monitor the dynamics of land-use change with high-resolution satellite imagery; 
  • Earth Map, which provides free and user-friendly access to satellite imagery and geospatial datasets for analysing changes to the Earth’s surface to aid policy and investment decisions; 
  • Se.plan, a spatially explicit tool to identify potential restoration opportunities by assessing defining the benefits relative to costs as well as biophysical and socioeconomic constraints. 

The remaining days of the workshop were focused on data collection under the guidance of experts from the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) Remote Sensing Survey (RSS). Since 1948, FAO has been conducting forest resources assessments on the extent, condition, management and use of global forest resources. First applied in 1990 to complement the countries’ reporting processes, an RSS was implemented by the FRA to assess tree-cover and land-use status and changes using satellite imagery.  

The FRA 2020 RSS strongly emphasizes incorporating field knowledge during the image analysis process by ensuring effective participation from the survey countries. Workshop participants were trained on the FRA RSS methodology and principles of image interpretation, and on the use of satellite image interpretation and analysis software. Examples focused specifically on the Mediterranean region. 

The workshop also provided space for debate about the definition of Mediterranean forests and their classification according to FAO’s land-cover classification systems, the importance of adjusting forest management to adapt to climate change and improving the assessment of forest resources for better planning and monitoring, and lastly, the need to refine the regional approach for knowledge exchange and to leverage additional funds for the restoration and sustainable management of degraded Mediterranean forests.