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June 14, 2024
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FAO training boosts India’s contribution to global forest data | FAO in India | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


Experts gain skills needed to gather data for Global Forest Resources Assessment 2025 Remote Sensing Survey

Dehradun – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Forest Survey of India (FSI) this week held a workshop to train participants who will gather data for the Remote Sensing Survey (RSS) of FAO’s 2025 Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA). The FRA provides essential information for understanding the condition, extent, management and uses of forest resources across the globe.

Twenty experts from the Forest Survey of India and others from across the country who contributed a wide range of expertise to the last FRA RSS in 2020 attended the workshop in Dehradun, the capital of Uttarakhand state, from 13–17 May. The workshop was organized with the assistance of the European Union and Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative.

“At the Forest Survey of India, our primary mandate is conducting surveys and assessments of forest resources across India using satellite-based remote sensing techniques,” said Meera Iyer, Joint Director of FSI. “Being part of this global network dedicated to inventorying the world’s forest resources fills us at the Forest Survey of India with a sense of pride and responsibility, as we recognize the importance and significance of the forest resource assessment task assigned to us for the forthcoming Global Forest Resources Assessment 2025.”

Workshop highlights

The workshop opened with an in-depth review of the FRA 2025 methodology and implementation followed by e-learning modules and exercises on the physics of remote sensing, theory of photointerpretation and FRA land-use classes.

Training focused on visual image interpretation, with each participant projected to collect data for at least 250 RSS samples that fall within their territory.

There was also practical guidance on how to collect data using the Collect Earth Online (CEO) platform, developed in collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Google.

Experts used images of Bhitar Wali, a small location in the Uttarakhand state, to discuss land use classes and image interpretation, and practiced collecting data using CEO with guidance to get to grips with the methodology and the technology.

“India played an integral role in the previous global Remote Sensing Survey exercise in 2020,” said Valeria Contessa, Remote Sensing and GIS Specialist with FAO’s FRA. “The Global Forest Resources Assessment is very pleased to resume our collaboration and anticipate that our continued cooperation will bring significant contributions to the global agenda on forest reporting and research.”

FAO’s global Remote Sensing Survey

Since 1948, FAO has conducted assessments of the condition, extent, management and uses of global forest resources. The assessments compile comprehensive country reports every five years from officially nominated national correspondents using a standardized methodology. The findings of these assessments provide evidence to inform the decisions and recommendations of civil society, the private sector, governments and international conventions.

First developed in 1990, the Remote Sensing Survey is used by FRA to assess the status and changes in tree cover and land use with satellite imagery. Using advanced remote sensing tools and satellite imagery has allowed countries to produce independent and thorough analyses of forest area and how it changes over time at global, regional and biome levels.

Building on the success of the FRA 2020 RSS, which was presented at the World Forestry Congress in 2022, FAO is now conducting a new global survey which will provide up-to-date, reliable and consistent estimates of forest area and forest area change at regional, global and global ecological zones up to the year 2024. The FRA 2025 RSS will update data on variables from the previous cycle and collect new information on agroforestry systems, pastoral systems, types of crops, burned forests, mangroves and trees outside of forests.

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