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Next week - A Pacific Regional Workshop on Forest Monitoring

The Government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) with technical and financial support from FAO, will host the Pacific Regional Workshop on Forest Monitoring from 5 to 9 December 2017 at the newly opened PNG National Forest Inventory Office in the PNG Forest Authority headquarters, Port Moresby. The experts from PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga Indonesia and the Pacific Community (SPC) will share achievements and challenges of forest monitoring. The workshop will also introduce and provide hands on trainings on FAO forest monitoring tools including Open Foris and SEPAL. 

The workshop is financially supported by the European Union, Global Environment Facility and UN-REDD Programme, as well as Norad regarding the SEPAL component.

Read more below and keep an eye out for further news.

Workshop background

Majority of people in Pacific Island Countries continue to live traditional life styles, and the social and cultural role of the forest is still paramount – forests and trees are a foundation for food and productive security.  Forest is also a major economic resource especially for larger countries in Melanesia.  Timber industry contributes significantly to the national economy and development.  Pacific Island Countries are also well known for their rich and unique biodiversity.  Sustainable management of forest is vital for the wellbeing of people in the region.  Despite the importance, our knowledge of the forest in the region is very limited compared to other regions.

Pacific Island Countries are the most vulnerable to the effect of climate change.  Although the total Green House Gas (GHG) emissions in the region is very small compared to other regions, Pacific Island Countries are trying to contribute to the reduction of global GHG emissions.  Forestry and land use change account for about 10% of GHG emissions globally.  Papua New Guinea (PNG) proposed the concept of REDD+ (countries’ efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and foster conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks) into international negotiations at to United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP11 in Montreal in 2005.  Since then the Government of PNG has been putting significant efforts to the country’s REDD+ readiness.

PNG has established a robust Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system for REDD+, which contains in-country verification using two different RS (Remote Sensing)/GIS (Global Information System) methodologies (point sampling and wall-to-wall mapping) with different tools (Collect Earth and Terra PNG).  PNG’s MRV also includes Web-Portal to disseminate Forest and REDD+ information to public for ensuring the transparency of national REDD+ process.  PNG established REDD+ Forest Reference Level (FRL) using the data derived from the MRV system and submitted it to UNFCCC in January 2017 as the first country of the region.

FAO has developed innovative and cost-effective (open-source-software, free-of-charge) thus sustainable forest and land use monitoring tool called Open Foris. One of the software under Open Foris is Collect Earth, which is based on Google Earth thus user friendly for even non-GIS engineers.  The prototype of Collect Earth was developed under UN-REDD PNG National Programme (PNG NP) and PNG is the first country to utilize Collect Earth land use assessment for developing FRL based on annual emissions.  FAO has enhanced Open Foris and developed a new tool called SEPAL (System for Earth Observation Data Access, Processing & Analysis for Land Monitoring) and Collect Earth Online to support countries for monitoring their forests.


For more information, contact: Julian Fox, Team Leader for National Forest Monitoring (e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) or Erik Lindquist, Forestry Officer (e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), FAO's Forestry Department.


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