National Forest Monitoring

Easy and Efficient Forest Data Collection and Analysis Made Possible with Open Foris Arena


Thanks to financial support from UN-REDD, a new platform has been added to the Open Foris family. Launched on 7 July, Arena is an open-source technical solution enabling forest data collection, storage, management and analysis. Open Foris is a suite of open-source solutions that can be tailored to fit user’s needs, from field data collection to satellite image classification. With the addition of this new platform, the analysis and reporting of forest data is more efficient and flexible than ever before. Open Foris Arena eases the management of field data, as it provides users with the ability to fully customize the inventory structure, variables and data checks. The platform combines the main features of two Open Foris (OF) tools, OF Collect and OF Calc. OF Arena is also fast and flexible, allowing users to set up a forest survey that can handle multiple data types, time-series field data and complex validation rules.


While users familiar with the original OF tools might hesitate to switch to the new platform, there are numerous advantages that make the transition worthwhile. Unlike older OF tools, OF Arena does not require user installation and all data is stored in a secure server in the cloud. The new platform allows users to work collaboratively, as it enables easy data sharing and group work. When the platform updates, it does so at the same time for all users. Also, the platform (hardware and database management) does not require maintenance from trained professionals.


The cloud platform, OF Arena, was introduced during the webinar, “Forest data and free open-source solutions for Climate Action Confirmation,” which highlighted the ways in which national forest monitoring systems (NFMS) support climate action. A more targeted technical training session for OF Arena is also planned for September. Training will benefit users, particularly as the technical platform expands to include more features such as templates for NFI data entry and processing, easier tailoring of the surveys, improved data exploration, a new set of expressions (such as functions for geospatial analysis), and built-in methods for data aggregation. These features are all currently in development, as well as video tutorials. Later in 2021, Arena will also be expanded with the addition of a reporting function.  


The use of OF Arena will support countries developing or implementing NFMS or national forest inventories (NFIs). With support of various donors and initiatives, including UN-REDD, NICFI, GEF, IKI-BMU, and Finland, FAO supports countries around the world in their development of NFMS, which create sources of reliable forest information, guiding national forest policies and supporting sustainable development. Forest data, collected by NFIs and NFMS, as well as data gathered through remote sensing, help to inform national greenhouse gas inventories, Forest Reference Level (FRL) construction, REDD+ results and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) reporting.  


The introduction of OF Arena will only serve to enhance these actions and help to create a more sustainable forest sector for the billions of people around the world who depend on forests each and every day.


About the authors:


Lauri Vesa

National Forest inventory Expert

National Forest Monitoring Team

FAO Forestry Division

[email protected]


Julian Fox

Senior Forestry Officer

National Forest Monitoring Team Leader

FAO Forestry Division

[email protected]


Related links:


Article Open Foris: Innovative, free and open tools and platforms catalysing climate action

Article Open Foris website revamped to better serve countries’ forest and land monitoring needs

National Forest Monitoring tools: 

Open Foris site:


This post was originally featured on the UN-REDD Programme website: