New Methods and Guidance Document Released
The second edition of the GFOI Methods and Guidance Document (MGD 2.0) has been published and is available for download as a PDF and
for viewing through the REDDcompass online portal. By linking UNFCCC reporting requirements with the IPCC’s good practice guidance,
the MGD provides a systematic workflow approach to guide countries through the complex process of developing forest monitoring and
MRV systems for REDD+. The MGD 2.0 provides a full update and extension of the first edition and presents improved and extended methods
and guidance. It will form a key element of GFOI partners’ assistance to developing countries. The document is currently available
only in English, but French and Spanish translations will be available by the end of the year. The GFOI Office would like to
acknowledge the significant contributions from many partners in the developing the MGD 2.0. In particular we would like to acknowledge
the late Prof. Jim Penman. We hope that Jim is looking down on us and feeling an immense sense of pride and satisfaction. As a mark of
respect, the MGD 2.0 has been dedicated to Jim in recognition of his longstanding contribution and commitment to the MGD and broader
Innovative Solutions for Monitoring Forest Carbon Advancing Climate Action through Improved Information: A
SilvaCarbon Research Workshop
September 28-29, 2016: Washington, DC, USA
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations have underscored the importance of establishing
transparent national forest monitoring systems. These systems produce vital information on forest carbon stocks and dynamics to
support a wide range of national and international objectives, including REDD+ and the implementation and tracking of Nationally
Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the UNFCCC. According to international guidance, national forest monitoring systems should
integrate both remote sensing and forest inventory approaches for generating accurate estimates of forest carbon emissions and
removals, and should be based on replicable and consistent methods.
SilvaCarbon works with developing countries to build technical capacities for forest carbon monitoring and strengthen the underlying
science. Since 2011, the program has provided targeted technical assistance to 21 countries to support the design and implementation
of national forest monitoring systems and measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) systems for REDD+. Through extensive
engagement with in-country practitioners and international experts, SilvaCarbon has identified critical research needs that must be
addressed in order to overcome the current and future technical challenges facing country partners.
In response to those needs, the SilvaCarbon Global Program has awarded eleven research grants to U.S. and international scientists
focused on applying cutting-edge technologies and methodologies for measuring and monitoring forest carbon. This research, now
complete, addresses key knowledge gaps relevant to REDD+ implementation, UNFCCC reporting, and other efforts which require improved
data and information on forest dynamics and associated carbon dynamics. SilvaCarbon is organizing an international workshop in
Washington, D.C. to share results from this research, assess remaining knowledge gaps, and advance research implementation.
Workshop Objectives: As countries progress in the development of their forest carbon monitoring and MRV systems, it is becoming
increasingly important to facilitate the exchange of technical knowledge and experiences. This exchange is essential for guiding
future research, developing practical guidance and capacity-building resources, and disseminating new tools and methods that are
appropriate to countries’ unique needs and circumstances. With this in mind, the workshop will bring together scientists,
international cooperation agencies, and national practitioners to increase global understanding of emerging tools and methods for
measuring and monitoring forest carbon. The event will foster learning and collaboration through a combination of presentations,
focused discussions, and interactive activities, and will seek to identify priorities for potential future research and develop
an action plan for improving the underlying science of national forest monitoring in REDD+ countries.
The research covered at the workshop spans array of critical issues in forest carbon monitoring, including the detection of forest
degradation – a key challenge for many countries – using remote sensing applications, ground monitoring applications, and a
combination of data sources.
The specific objectives of the workshop are to:
Present the SilvaCarbon research findings, including new methods and approaches as well as the implications of operationalizing
those methods and approaches in SilvaCarbon countries. This information will be valuable for future capacity-building and will
support planning for stakeholders involved in REDD+ monitoring.
Based on the research findings, identify gaps, inconsistencies, uncertainties, and other obstacles to the effective integration
of global, national, and subnational monitoring efforts.
Discuss and document the impact of the research on:
- Existing and upcoming guidance to countries regarding forest and terrestrial carbon monitoring
- Capacity-building efforts to strengthen and advance the development of national forest and landscape monitoring systems
Research needs and opportunities, and links to partners’ research activities, such as those of the Global Forest
Observations Initiative (GFOI) Research and Development component
The expected outcomes of the workshop include a set of presentations and discussion materials that will be made available online, and
a workshop report that synthesizes the research findings with the goal of improving the guidance to be provided by the various
workshop partners to countries and other users.
REDD+ Monitoring, and Measurement, Reporting and Verification workshop “Training the Trainers” Second Regional Workshop, South America
July 4 – 7, 2016: Lima, Peru
The performance-based climate mitigation framework REDD+ encourages the reduction of emissions related to deforestation and forest
degradation, and removals through enhanced forest carbon stocks and improved forest management. These activities should be measured
and reported to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which requires methodologies for estimating actual
emissions and removals and for establishing the reference level. UNFCCC requests countries to build robust and transparent national
forest monitoring systems to facilitate the measurement and reporting of forest related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, following the
guidelines and guidance from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Various training materials and tools are available that aim to support and facilitate country processes with the development of
capacities for implementing a national system for monitoring forest area and area changes, the associated carbon stocks and changes;
and for measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) of REDD+ activities. To make these materials more accessible for countries and
REDD+ / forest monitoring professionals, four (4) regional one week workshops are planned in three different continents: one in
South-East Asia (in English), one in Latin America (in Spanish) and two in Africa (in French and English). The basic concept of
these workshop is to “train the trainers”. A selected group of around 35 participants from countries in each region (2-3 per country)
will attend with the aim of further disseminating the gained knowledge and insights and train other relevant people who are involved
in REDD+ monitoring and reporting in their country, in order to further build their capacities. The workshops will be jointly
organized in close collaboration with the different training and capacity building initiatives from World Bank FCPF, GFOI,
Silvacarbon, FAO/UN-REDD,REDD+ partnership, Wageningen University, GOFC-GOLD, and Boston University. Organization of the workshops
will be under the coordinating leadership of Wageningen University.
Workshop Objectives: This workshop from 4 to 7 July in Lima, Peru, was the second of the series of four regional workshops. The aim
of the workshop is to build upon existing expertise and experiences and to use available training materials and tools in a broad
capacity development context to help build a countries’ capacities and to spread the use and increase the impact of available
knowledge and tools.
After the successful completion of the workshop, participants should be able to become ‘multipliers’ by further disseminating the
knowledge and experience gained and train other relevant people who are involved in REDD+ monitoring and reporting in their country.
In the workshops, participants learn about the different training materials and tools that are available and how these different
materials all fit together in the “bigger picture” of REDD+ MRV capacity building. Participants will also know how and where to make
request for further appropriate training and make use of available tools for implementation. A direct interaction with leading
international experts present at the workshop will be facilitated so specific issues can be discussed face to face.
Joint GFOI / GOFC-GOLD / CONABIO /SilvaCarbon R&D Expert and Capacity Building workshop on:
Regional solutions to forest type stratification and characterising the forest state for national forest monitoring and carbon
emissions reporting (REDD+ MRV and LULUCF)
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico
The workshop brought together a community of REDD+ monitoring technical experts and regional practitioners to discuss the evolving
needs and current state of art on forest stratification mapping. Working group sessions helped identify the gaps and obstacles that
hinder progress, and assisted in developing an action plan towards improving the underlying science and national forest monitoring
in REDD+ countries.
Specifically, the workshop aimed to:
Assess the evolving needs from the international level and REDD+ countries for generating and reporting on specific forest types
Give regional practitioners an opportunity to present their national and regional forest monitoring systems and discuss the current
challenges on decision making and translating what is mapped in reporting
- Present and share experiences on approaches to mapping nationally relevant forest types
- Present and share experiences on characterising the forest state (e.g., degradation, regrowth)
- Discuss adequate approaches for product validation and for the related uncertainty assessment in carbon emissions reporting
Discuss important gaps and obstacles and opportunities for future improvements documented in an action plan for further R&D and
- Synthesize the findings towards improved guidance to countries and REDD+ practitioners
Radar for Resource Assessment Workshop
June 14 – 16, 2016: Quito, Ecuador
A three day workshop on radar remote sensing for resource assessment and land cover mapping took was hosted the Ministry for the
Environment of the Government of Ecuador (Ministerio del Ambiente de Ecuador-MAE). Dr. Barry Haack and Miss Coral Roig-Silva, USGS
scientist used a combination of powerpoint lectures with hands-on exercises based upon ENVI image processing software for the
workshop. Most of the workshop spaceborne optical and radar imagery was of several locations in Peru. There were 14 participants
from multiple departments within MAE.
First Regional GFOI Forest Monitoring Workshop for Central America Report
June 2 – 3, 2016: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
This was the first regional GFOI workshop on forest monitoring in Central America. The workshop objectives were to:
- Increase the understanding of the current status remote sensing data use to map forest cover in Central America
- Introduce different satellite missions around the globe (COVE tool)
- Present all GFOI capacity building efforts supporting forest cover mapping for reporting to REDD+
- Discuss and compare interoperability of different sets of satellite images
REDD+ Monitoring and Measurement, Reporting and Verification workshop Training the Trainers- First regional workshop
April 18 - 22, 2016: Bangkok, Thailand
GFOI partners hosted a Training the Trainers workshop in Bangkok from 18 to 22 April 2016. The workshop assembled a group of regional
leaders and provided targeted training in the use of the GFOI’s new and overarching REDDcompass, the training modules from the
GOFC-GOLD source book, the World Bank’s Decision Support Tool (DST) and various other linked products. REDDcompass is a new web
application that is based on the content of the GFOI’s Methods and Guidance Documentation (MGD). This was the first of three planned
workshops on this topic for 2016, the others are planned for Peru and Ethiopia later in the year.
Radar for Resource Assessment Workshop
March 6 - 9, 2016: Lima, Peru
A three day workshop on radar remote sensing for resource assessment and land cover mapping took was hosted and held in facilities of
MINAM, the Ministry for the Environment of the Government of Peru (Ministerio del Ambiente). Dr. Barry Haack and Miss Coral Roig-Silva,
USGS scientist used a combination of powerpoint lectures with hands-on exercises based upon ENVI image processing software for the
workshop. Most of the workshop spaceborne optical and radar imagery was of several locations in Peru. There were 14 participants from
multiple departments within MINAM.
Training on Community-Based Forest Monitoring Using Mobile Devices
February 8 - 12, 2016: Puerto Ocopa, Rio Tambo, Junin, Peru
During the week of February 8th, Dr. Arun Pratihast from the Wageningen University traveled to Peru to meet with partners and to
continue working with communities. The community of Puerto Ocopa hosted members from the Laguna Linda Laguna and San Pedro de
Pichanaz Communities to receive training in the use of mobile devices for forest monitoring and mapping. The project is a
collaborative effort in partnership with the "Programa Bosques" from the Ministry of Environment of Peru (MINAM) and CIFOR. Data
collection efforts are currently in place. Findings are expected to be published later in the year.
14th GEO GFOI Workshop on Forest Monitoring in the Americas on optimizing plot design for the estimation of forest attributes and
integration with remote sensors
February 1 - 5, 2016: Tarapoto, Peru
The motivation of this workshop was to discuss the theory behind plot design for different situations, and to try to reach an optimal
solution for situations of different interests and little funding. The workshop was a mix of technical presentations from experts in
the field, group discussions, as well as interactive exercises that gave the participants a practical understanding of the plot design
concept. In addition, a field exercise was carried out that included data collection to assess the relationship between field data and
data from remote sensors.
Fourteenth GFOI Americas Regional Forest Monitoring Workshop: Forest Inventory design
January 25 - 29, 2016: Santa Rosa, Laguna, Philippines
Forest inventory plot design is a subject great debate. Not only do inventory experts debate the proper shape, size, and number,
configuration, and separation distance between subplots, but remote sensing specialists also consider training and accuracy assessment
plot characteristics critical to their work.
Forest inventory plots should thus be designed to meet both inventory and remote sensing data needs in the most efficient way. However,
there are often competing interests in plot design. For example, inventory efficiency might be maximized with small clusters of plots
separated by small distances, whereas remote sensing specialists might prefer plots that are large and correspond with remote sensing
pixel configuration. Similarly, ecologists interested in species diversity might prefer plots more suited for the generation of
species-area curves. The motivation for the workshop is thus to discuss the theory behind inventory plot design in different concepts,
and to attempt to arrive at common ground when considering competing interests in the face of a limited budget. The structure of the
workshop included a mixture of technical presentations of work in this area from experts, group discussion, and interactive, hands-on
experiments aimed at giving participants a practical understanding of the concepts of plot design. A field activity that involves
discussion of plot design principles and collection of data aimed at assessing relationships between ground data and remotely sense
imagery also was included.
Fifth GFOI Asia Regional Forest Monitoring Workshop: Accuracy Assessment of Land Cover/Land Use Maps
January 25 - 29, 2016: Santa Rosa, Laguna, Philippines
The overall goal of the workshop was to provide participants from the SilvaCarbon South and Southeast Asia countries with an
understanding of past and ongoing forest cover map accuracy assessment efforts and to provide guidance for enhancing future activities.
The Philippines, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Cambodia are currently engaged in accuracy assessments of their existing maps with support
from FAO and SilvaCarbon. At this workshop, practical issues identified through this ongoing work will be discussed in more detail,
including area estimation, uncertainty analysis (for different tiers) and forest stratification. The workshop will also share the
latest international guidance provided by GFOI’s Methods and Guidance Documentation (MGD) on accuracy assessment/area estimation and
will an offer opportunity to discuss how the current efforts in the countries can be aligned accordingly. The information shared at
the workshop will form the basis for discussing national-level activities related to accuracy assessment and area estimation of land
cover change in all participating countries.