Woods Hole Research Center Hosting 10 International Scholars
Tropical Forest Mapping and Monitoring Training Program is one facet of a multi-year pantropical initiative.
Forest and carbon monitoring in the tropics is becoming increasingly important as international climate policy efforts to slow the rates of tropical forest loss advance. Understanding forest mapping methods is critical to developing country forestry administrations as well as the traditional forest communities and indigenous groups who are stakeholders in policies designed to reduce tropical deforestation. As part of its Pantropical Forest and Carbon Mapping and Monitoring initiative, the Woods Hole Research Center is hosting 10 forest scholars from the tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Latin America for an intensive two-week instructional training on forest and carbon mapping techniques and data management from Monday, September 20, to Friday, October 1.
According to Josef Kellndorfer, WHRC scientist co-leading the pantropical effort, “With many tropical nations aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, accurate mapping of forest cover and its associated carbon stock in detail is crucial. One goal is to share expertise we have gathered in some novel approaches for large scale forest mapping from integrating field and satellite image data.”
This is the second year WHRC has hosted a group of pantropical scholars. Those attending include:
Friends of Nature Foundation (FAN)
Uganda National Forest Authority
Zambia Forestry Department
Zambia Forestry Department
Nguyen Hanh Quyenv
Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology
Green Belt Movement
Andréana Paola Mekui Biyogo
Gabon Forest Service
Forestry Administration, Watershed, and Forestland Management Office
Instituto de Hidrología, Meteorología y Estudios Ambientales (IDEAM)
India Forest Survey of India
WHRC scientists are working with governments and tropical forest stakeholders, including indigenous and traditional forest communities, to transfer the knowledge and skills behind monitoring tropical forest loss, with the goal of building the technical capacity of countries and communities to map and monitor their own forest resources and inform policy solutions.
Ned Horning, a project collaborator from the American Museum of Natural History's Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, explains, “The training will provide skills to the scholars that will allow them to use satellite imagery to map forest biomass. When the scholars return to their countries they will teach colleagues from their region of the tropics to further build capacity.”
Eric Armijo, a returning scholar from the Friends of Nature Foundation (FAN) in Bolivia, adds, “This program offers me the opportunity to learn new techniques. I especially value that the tools, which are non-commercial products, and data, which is freely accessible, that we are working with here are readily available to me once I return home. This means that I can share them with colleagues and truly use what we’ve learned here.”
Armijo continues, “Also, the connections that I make here – both with the other scholars and with the WHRC staff – offers me a network of professionals dealing with the same issues I’m working on. Even though our home countries may have varying circumstances in landscapes and resources, those relationships are a very important result of my time here.”
The initiative is a three-year endeavor funded by Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Google.org, and the David & Lucile Packard Foundation. In addition to the scholars program, WHRC sponsors in-country workshops with national governments and forest stakeholders as a forum for exchanging information on forest monitoring tools and techniques and their relevance for improved forest and carbon management policies. The next workshop in this series will be held this October within the territory of the Shuar ethnic group of Ecuador in partnership with the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin (COICA). The workshop will convene scientists, government officials, and indigenous peoples representing six countries of the Amazon Basin to discuss mapping local forest resources.
Regional, national and pantropical mapping products are also under development to include the distribution of forest cover across the tropics at a resolution of 15 m as well as a pan-tropical map of above-ground biomass (carbon) at a resolution of 500 m using a combination of satellite and field-survey data. Once completed, these maps are expected to provide the highest resolution and most consistent pan-tropical data sets against which changes in forest cover and carbon stocks can be measured.
For more information, please contact:Associate Director of Communications
Woods Hole Research Center