REDD+ Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation

Forthcoming regional workshop on forest monitoring in the Pacific


The Government of Papua New Guinea (PNG), with technical and financial support from FAO, will host the Pacific Regional Workshop on Forest Monitoring from 5 to 9 December 2017 at the newly opened PNG National Forest Inventory Office in the PNG Forest Authority headquarters, Port Moresby.

Experts from PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Indonesia and the Pacific Community (SPC) will share achievements and challenges of forest monitoring. The workshop will also introduce and provide hands on training on FAO forest monitoring tools including Open Foris and SEPAL. 

The workshop is financially supported by the European Union, Global Environment Facility and the UN-REDD Programme, as well as the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) regarding the SEPAL component.

Workshop background

The majority of people in Pacific Island countries continue to live traditional lifestyles and the social and cultural role of the forest is still paramount – forests and trees are important for productive food security. Sustainable management of forests are vital for the wellbeing of people in the region. Forests are also a major economic resource for the larger countries in Melanesia especially and the timber industry contributes significantly to national economies and development.  Pacific Island countries are also well known for their rich and unique biodiversity. Despite the importance, our knowledge of the forest in the region is very limited compared to other regions.

Pacific Island countries are also the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.  Globally, forestry and land use change account for about 10% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Although the total GHG emissions in the Pacific region is very small compared to other regions, Pacific Island countries are trying to contribute to the reduction of global GHG emissions.   

PNG proposed the concept of REDD+ (countries’ efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and foster conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks) in the international negotiations at the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP11 in Montreal in 2005.  Since then the Government of PNG has made significant efforts to ensure the country’s REDD+ readiness.

PNG established a robust measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) system for REDD+, which contains in-country verification using two different remote sensing)/GIS (geographic information system) methodologies (point sampling and wall-to-wall mapping) with different tools (Collect Earth and Terra PNG).  PNG’s MRV also includes a web portal to disseminate forest and REDD+ information to the public to ensure the transparency of national REDD+ processes.  In January 2017, PNG was the first country in the region to submit it's Forest Reference Level (FRL) to the UNFCCC, using data derived from the MRV system.

FAO developed Open Foris, a set of innovative and cost-effective open source software (free of charge) tools for sustainable forest and land use monitoring. One of the tools under Open Foris is Collect Earth which based on Google Earth and thus user friendly for non-GIS engineers. The prototype of Collect Earth was developed under the UN-REDD PNG National Programme and PNG is the first country to utilize Collect Earth land use assessment for developing FRL based on annual emissions.  FAO has enhanced Open Foris and developed a new tool called SEPAL (System for Earth Observation Data Access, Processing & Analysis for Land Monitoring) and Collect Earth Online to support countries to monitor forests.

For more information, contact Julian Fox, Team Leader for National Forest Monitoring ([email protected]) or Erik Lindquist, Forestry Officer ([email protected]), FAO's Forestry Department.


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