FAO in Tanzania

FAO supports Eastern African countries to monitor forest resources


Arusha - Tanzania – Forest experts from Tanzania, Kenya, Eritrea and Somalia met in Arusha this week to learn the latest methodologies and tools to monitor changes in Eastern Africa’s forest cover and land use via satellite imagery.

The six-day event was organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as part of the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020 (FRA), which provides essential information on the extent of the world’s forest resources and plays a central part in monitoring progress towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15 - Life on Land.

In the lead-up to a global FRA Remote Sensing Survey, FAO is developing national capacities to use remote sensing for forest monitoring and establishing a global network of satellite imagery interpreters. Around 30 participants from the four countries attended this week’s workshop, where they were trained in visual interpretation following a methodology that can be adapted also for specific country needs.

Data collected for forest area estimates

At the same time, participants collected data for at least 250 Remote Sensing Survey samples falling within their respective territories, which will be used to compile independent and consistent estimates on forest area and its changes over time at global and regional level for the periods 2000-2010 and 2010-2018.

“Participants have successfully completed samples for Kenya and Tanzania this week and kicked off the data collection for Somalia and Eritrea”, said FAO’s FRA Team Leader, Anssi Pekkarinen.

“The photo interpretation was carried out using software developed in collaboration with NASA and Google, tailored for FRA 2020 Remote Sensing Survey purposes,” said FAO Forestry Officer Adolfo Kindgard, who is leading the workshop in Arusha. “Participants also visited some sample sites in the field and were able to compare their interpretation results with the reality in the field.” he added.

Boosting national capacities

FAO has been supporting countries across the globe to conduct Global Forest Resources Assessments since 1946. The exercise has been evolving over time to adapt to the constantly changing information needs and technologies.

FRA is a country-driven process of collection and analysis of official national statistics on forest resources aimed to inform the global community on the status of forest resources and their changes. FRA data are widely used to support evidence-based recommendations at various levels by governments, civil society and the private sector.

The Arusha workshop and the FRA Remote Sensing Survey are conducted with the financial support of the European Union and the Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative.


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