Keeping an eye on our forests

National forest monitoring capacity is increasing worldwide

Follow the conversation with Anssi Pekkarinen and Julian Fox from U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Veronique De Sy from Wageningen University and Research as they discuss a recent global study that shows promising development in forest monitoring capacity across the globe. Some 85 percent of global forests are now monitored with adequate remote sensing or field inventory system, according to the study.

The study, conducted by analyzing data from 236 countries, found that the number of countries using remote sensing and national forest inventories to monitor their forest are increasing from 55 countries in 2005 to 99 countries in 2020. The progress has been driven by increasing interest in the relationship between forests and climate change, and in the tropics, continued international investments for forest monitoring especially related to REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation).

Improved forest monitoring capacity also helps alleviate forests loss at the national and global levels in various ways. First, forest monitoring capacity and the resulting reports such as Forest Reference Emission Levels are key elements to access international climate finance, Fox said.

Moreover, the monitoring process and outcomes support the policy cycle related to forest management and climate change mitigation within the country. “This gives countries better ideas about where and how forest change happens, and this helps countries tackle the problem in national and even subnational level,” De Sy said. Countries are also able to evaluate the impact of the policy and measures undertaken to reduce forest loss and emissions from forest degradation.

At the global level, the monitoring capacity is crucial for measuring progress on the U.N. ,  and the forthcoming post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, according to Pekkarinen.

Listen to the full discussion about the study  in the podcast.

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