FAO, Norway collaborate to improve global forest data with remote sensing data

Norway will spend $50 million on the project to purchase high-resolution images of tropical forests. The images will be made freely available for governments, researchers and NGOs all over the world.

FAO, Norway collaborate to improve global forest data with remote sensing data
FAO, Norway collaborate to improve global forest data with remote sensing data

FAO, Norway collaborate to improve global forest data with remote sensing data

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and government of Norway are cooperating to improve global statistics on forest resources. Norway will spend $50 million on the project to purchase high-resolution images of tropical forests. The images will be made freely available for governments, researchers and NGOs all over the world. The satellite imagery will enable the monitoring of deforestation, even on smaller areas. Insights into changes in the rainforests is crucial for reducing tropical deforestation.

The three-year project is part of the FAO’s wider Forest Resource Assessment (FRA), which collects official forest resource information on all aspects of sustainable forest management (SFM) from 236 countries and territories. Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) is providing $3 million to FAO to organize capacity development events that will focus on improving reporting on forest resources and making these data more complete, timely and easier to access. The trainings will also build the capacity of developing country participants to use satellite remote sensing to collect data on forest area, biomass and carbon stocks.

FAO forestry policy and resources chief, Tiina Vähänen, said country data “are the backbone of the FRA.” Through this project, she said FAO will provide extensive capacity development and will help developing countries “to collect, analyze and report forest related information in a transparent manner.” FAO further emphasized the importance of global forest information to support policy formulation and decision-making to protect and sustainably manage forests and achieve the SDGs.