“Many countries simply do not have a full picture of what is happening in their forests, and without that knowledge it is hard to develop effective forest policies to combat deforestation and forest degradation or to advance national climate change strategies,” said Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General for FAO Forestry, in a press release.
As it stands now, nearly 80 percent of developing countries have difficulty obtaining and using basic information about their forest resources.
“Open Foris” is a FAO-led initiative designed to assist countries in forest inventory – from assessment, design and field data collection to analysis and reporting. Released on Friday at the International Union of Forest Research Organizations’ World Congress in Salt Lake City, Open Foris tools are already being tested in more than ten countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
“We hope that Open Foris will be a game changer, as it is the first comprehensive open source tool that will not only guide the countries through the whole process of data collection and analysis but will also encourage and facilitate open knowledge sharing in an innovative way,” said Rojas-Briales.
The new software includes built-in tools to help countries meet international reporting requirements related to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and increasing the carbon stock in forests. In addition, the FAO tools simplify the complex process of transforming raw data such as tree measurements and satellite imagery into interactive web pages with statistics, graphs, maps and reports.
“Increased transparency will help the policy makers obtain the information they need to make informed decisions,” said Rojas-Briales, adding that earlier this year Ecuador and Tanzania have already completed their first national forest inventories with the help of Open Foris tools.
Meanwhile, experts from Argentina, Bhutan, Papua New Guinea and Uruguay have recently received training to use different components of the software.
In Viet Nam, forest rangers are collecting information on the number, size, species and quality of trees as well as the use of forest resources by local populations before entering the data into Open Foris software back at the office.
The process is expected to become even more efficient when rangers start using an Open Foris tool that enables them to enter data directly with their smartphones or tablets, eliminating the need to input information collected on paper forms.
Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on Mountains and Climate linked issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last five years this knowledge sharing portal has become one of the important references for the governments, research institutions, civil society groups and international agencies, those have work and interest in the Himalayas. The Climate Himalaya team innovates on knowledge sharing, capacity building and climatic adaptation aspects in its focus countries like Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Climate Himalaya’s thematic areas of work are mountain ecosystem, water, forest and livelihood. Read>>