Forest monitoring can be a tool for implementing emissions reductions by using Early Warning (EW) systems that detect deforestation daily, weekly, or monthly. The frequency and low latency of EW systems make it possible for law enforcement and other actors to respond rapidly to deforestation events, potentially halting further forest clearing.
While EW systems have been implemented in countries like Brazil for over a decade, these systems have only recently existed in Southeast Asia. As a result, the SilvaCarbon program and the World Resources Institute’s Global Forest Watch program are co-organizing a regional workshop under the Global Forest Observation Initiative umbrella to bring together forest monitoring actors from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam to demonstrate existing EW systems, showcase future developments, and share experiences around the creation and use of EW systems.
Sustainable management of mangroves is a crucial component of global efforts to adapt to and mitigate climate change. Mangroves store large amounts of carbon, protect coastlines from tropical cyclones, and harbor high biodiversity. In addition, mangroves are critical ecosystems for coastal communities.
This workshop aimed to showcase the latest mangrove mapping and carbon estimation methods and emphasize how mapping and field inventories complement one another. Developing countries with REDD+ programs need to (a) identify the geographic extent of mangrove forests, and (b) estimate carbon stocks per hectare (i.e., emissions factors) in order to estimate carbon emissions from land-use changes. Although different individuals (and possibly agencies) may be responsible for mapping efforts and field inventories in specific countries, we aimed to create a dialog between these individuals and provide a complete picture of how to estimate carbon emissions from changes in mangrove forest cover.
\ In the field of climate change, despite the advances in gender awareness and inclusion, prejudices, and stereotypes continue to hinder women from participating in technical sectors and those related to carbon science such as forest monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories. Additionally, women's unequal participation in decision-making processes and labor markets exacerbates inequalities and often prevents women from fully contributing to forest conservation and climate-related policy planning, policymaking, and implementation. The SilvaCarbon LACC team, interested in contributing to reducing gender bias in its areas of impact, began exploring a joint initiative with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Colorado State University Center on Protected Area Management (CPAM-CSU) on this theme at the regional level.
The objectives of the seminar were to: Improve the general understanding of the various impacts generated by gender bias in the field of forests and carbon; Identify challenges and opportunities on how to integrate a vision of equality in technical-scientific activities in the forestry sector; Share the experiences of women in technical management positions and their valuable contributions; and develop a set of recommendations on how to address gender issues and share them with relevant ministries/agencies in Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition, simultaneous interpretation was provided in Spanish and English and there were 308 participants from 32 countries.
SilvaCarbon, in collaboration with Google Earth Engine (GEE), organized this past July 4th a one-day training on the GEE platform where female students from the National University of Asunción from Geography and other related careers were invited to participate. GEE is a web-based platform that combines a multi-petabyte catalog of satellite imagery and geospatial datasets with analytics capabilities, enabling analysis of large volumes of data. This training provided a brief overview of the main options for interacting with this platform, including the Code Editor, a web-based IDE for writing and running scripts, and Explorer, a lightweight web application for exploring data catalogs and running simple analyses. Satellite imagery analysis were done during the training, creating cloudless mosaics and plotting time series data. During this workshop students became familiar with Earth Engine Geospatial Objects and their associated functions: images and collections of images, features and collections of features, and geometries. They improved the capacity of remote sensing data: analysis and mapping using GEE. Assisted participants in exploring GEE functions and tools for their work in forest cover mapping and monitoring and other applications and ultimately processed large files of satellite images and perform simple analyses.
The assessment and improvement of Forest Reference Emission Level (FREL)/Forest Reference Level (FRL) are challenging in technical, logistic, and political terms. This is due to the need to generate input that is replicable, the development and implementation of robust methods, capacity building, alignment, and consistency with other national and subnational reports, and the complexity to reflect the assessment of these reports adequately and communicate the differences between updated and previous reports.
These issues are addressed transversally by Latin American and Caribbean countries which have submitted their FREL/FRLs and their REDD+ Technical Annexes to the UNFCCC and other initiatives. Considering that these challenges are shared throughout the region, SilvaCarbon sought to provide a space for dialogue in which the experiences in assessing the FREL/FRLs and REDD+ technical Annexes submitted to the UNFCCC (and other initiatives) can be shared. This is to identify the main problems faced by countries in the evaluation and improvement of these reports and to add to support Latin American and Caribbean countries and guide the efforts of improvement of FREL/FRL and Technical Annexes.
This seminar, organized by the SilvaCarbon LACC team and the UNFCCC, allowed an enriching exchange between specialists from Latin America and the Caribbean on experiences and challenges in the processes of improvement and assessment of (i) the Forest Reference Emissions Levels, Forest Reference Levels and REDD+ Technical Annexes to the UNFCCC and (ii) the preparation of Baselines for different results-based payment initiatives. As such, this event was a space to identify areas of collaboration between countries in the region based on the lessons learned that were shared. This seminar had 179 participants from 28 countries.
The SilvaCarbon program and the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) co-organized a regional workshop to bring together i) national land monitoring experts and GHG inventory analysts from Paraguay, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Guatemala; ii) global land monitoring experts from the CEOS group; and iii) LULUCF experts nominated in the UNFCCC roster by their governments or contributors to the 2019 refinement of the IPCC guidelines. Participants discussed the new capabilities for measuring biomass from space and how they can be integrated with plot data to improve NFIs and GHG inventories following IPCC guidance. The workshop included a 1-day field trip to a forest plot to validate a model to map biomass combining GEDI and plot data that has been tested by INFONA and the US Forest Service.
One of the areas affected by the pandemic has undoubtedly been the in-person education. Therefore, institutions have sought to implement new forms of online teaching and e-learning to avoid a lapse in capacity transfer by the inability to teach in person. As a result, many online courses were developed and delivered using recently created digital platforms, both public and private. The new modalities of online teaching occurred in all disciplines, including the forestry and land monitoring area. Different partners and experts begin to generate technical assistance content for the countries in measurement, reporting, and verification of emissions (MRV). At first, participating in these online assistances was manageable. Still, as time passed and the creators became more skilled every day, the selection of online seminars became quite overwhelming for the participants.
SilvaCarbon, in collaboration with FAO and GFOI and other partners such as the World Bank, etc., recognized the opportunity that comes from having these significant amounts of technical assistance resources that exist in the cloud and that could be organized in a way that countries can find access and act. The first version for this webinar was delivered to the LAC region this past June.
The SilvaCarbon Program supported a series of universities to implement, together with selected Silvacarbon countries, emerging tools, and methods for measuring and monitoring forest carbon. These techniques and methods cover an array of critical issues in forest carbon monitoring, including detecting forest degradation – a key challenge for many countries – using remote sensing applications, ground monitoring applications, and a combination of data sources. This meeting aims to update SilvaCarbon's Latin American countries on the current research development including challenges and diversions during the pandemic. The meeting intended to foster learning and collaboration through presentations and focused discussions. It also aimed to identify priorities for potential future research and develop an action plan to improve the current methods and techniques deployed during the pandemic.
The SilvaCarbon Program supported a series of Universities to implement, together with selected SilvaCarbon countries, emerging tools, and methods for measuring and monitoring forest carbon. These techniques and methods cover an array of critical issues in forest carbon monitoring, including detecting forest degradation (a key challenge for many countries), using remote sensing applications, ground monitoring applications, and a combination of data sources. This meeting aims to update SilvaCarbon's primary partners (USAID, USFS, USAID, State Department, World Bank) on current research development, including challenges and diversions during the pandemic.