National Forest Monitoring

National Forest Inventory

Forest inventories are systematic collections of data on the location, composition, and distribution of forest resources. The generated data allows for the assessment of various forest products and services and is a prerequisite for sustainable forest management. 

Depending on the specific goals and decision processes, forest inventories are implemented at the local, regional, national, or global level. 

National forest inventories (NFIs) are defined in FAO's Voluntary Guidelines on National Forest Monitoring (VGNFM) as a technical process of data compilation and forest resources analysis for a whole country. NFIs can build upon multiple data sources, including field inventories and remote sensing, to estimate relevant forest characteristics at particular points in time. 

NFIs enable countries to evaluate their stocktaking of a country's forest resources. They are multi-purpose and can be used to capture data on, for example, biodiversity, socio-economic aspects of forest use, and carbon stored. These data inform forest management decisions, national policy, and international reporting requirements.  

FAO provides support to countries on all aspects of developing and implementing an NFI under a National Forest Monitoring System as defined in the VGNFM. Capacity building is tailored to each country's needs, and ranges from planning, data collection, analysis, integration with remote sensing, quality assurance and quality control, to data archiving and documentation, dissemination, and reporting. 

A National Forest Inventory is one of the key sources of data (emission factors) for estimating anthropogenic forest-related greenhouse gas emissions and is an essential element of NFMS under REDD+, along with SLMS. 

FAO has been providing technical support and capacity building for member countries on forest inventories for more than 60 years. In 2000, a comprehensive program focused on supporting countries to undertake multi-purpose national forest inventories was established. Since then, the following countries have been supported: Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Bhutan, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote D'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Gambia, Ghana, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Nepal, Nicaragua, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Paraguay, Solomon Islands, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Timor Leste, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Zambia.

And currently, Uganda, Liberia, Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Guatemala, Bosnia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Azerbaijan, and West Africa (15 countries) are under support.

Key technical partners:

Over time, different partners institutions have collaborated with FAO on various technical aspects, including:

Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE), University of Göttingen, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY), Yale University, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Wageningen University, Purdue University, Brazilian Forest Service (SFB),Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FRIG), Chilean Forest Research Institute (INFOR), Mexican National Forest Commission (CONAFOR), Czech Forest Management Institute (UHUL), Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI), Korean Forest Service (KFS), United States Forest Service (USFS), German Corporation for International Cooperation GmbH (GIZ), French Agriculture Research and international Cooperation Organization (CIRAD), National Institute of Agricultural Research (INRA), Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE), World Resource Institute (WRI), the Global Forest Observation Initiative (GFOI), Silvacarbon.