Education & Capacity Building: Uganda Workshop 2008

New Approaches for Estimating Carbon Stocks

Budongo Forest Reserve, Western Uganda – November 12th-14th, 2008

From November 12th to November 14th, 2008, the Woods Hole Research Center’s Africa program team, conducted a workshop at the Kaniyo Pabidi Ecotourism Site located in the Budongo Forest Reserve, Western Uganda.  The workshop was designed to bring together practitioners in forest biometrics to share information on tools, techniques, and protocols to improve forest inventory designs for the purpose of more readily enabling the integration of forest field measurements and remotely sensed data.  Standardized protocols that ensure consistency in measurement acquisition and statistical soundness in sampling design were discussed to produce protected-area as well as national-level, continental, and pan-tropical maps of biomass/carbon stocks.

These pages provide a synopsis of the presentations that were given throughout the week, as well as general information about the workshop.


The workshop was attended by over 40 individuals from 7 different African countries (Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Sudan, Kenya, and Mozambique).

Funding and support were provided by the following institutions:

Woods Hole Research Center, Spot Image and the Planet Action Initiative, The David & Lucile Packard Foundation, The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation,, Uganda Wildlife Authority, Wildlife Conservation Society, and The NASA Land Cover Land Use Change & Applied Sciences Programs.

The WHRC Africa Program is currently running a project called the Protected Area Watch for the Albertine Rift (PAWAR), with the general goal of promoting the development and use of remote sensing information in conservation policy analysis and decision making. With this objective in mind, the Woods Hole Research Center conducted a multi-day workshop from November 12th to November 14th, 2008, at the Kaniyo Pabidi Ecotourism Site located in the Budongo Forest Reserve, Western Uganda. The purpose of the workshop was to bring together practitioners in forest biometrics and remote sensing to share information on tools and techniques/procedures to better integrate forest field measurements with remotely sensed data sets for biomass mapping.

About 80% of global above-ground terrestrial carbon is stored in forest ecosystems.  Thus, forests play a key role in the global carbon cycle and have the potential to significantly mitigate climate change.  Within the Albertine Rift region of central and east Africa, one of the most important centers for biodiversity on the continent, much of the remaining intact forest occurs within protected areas.  Nevertheless, mounting population pressures and associated habitat destruction make these forests some of the most threatened in the world.  Increasingly, carbon projects within the region are being considered as vehicles for encouraging carbon sequestration while at the same time rehabilitating degraded tropical forests, enhancing biodiversity, and strengthening the protection of both.  One such example is the Uganda Wildlife Authority – Forest Absorbing Carbon dioxide Emissions (UWA-FACE) project located in Kibale National Park, where approximately 10,000 ha of degraded forest are being restored.  Kibale is known for its remarkable diversity of primates, including the endangered chimpanzee.

The Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC), located in Massachusetts, USA, has a long history of research focused on the carbon cycle and on forest biomass/carbon measurement and monitoring.  Accurate estimates of above-ground forest biomass are required not only to reduce current uncertainties in the global carbon budget but also to inform natural resources management and to provide validation for market-based carbon projects.  Traditionally, above-ground biomass estimates have been derived from national or regional (sub-national) forest inventories that provide estimates of carbon stocks at the plot to regional level but these surveys are often limited in that they do not provide information on the spatial distribution of biomass over large areas.  Because forest inventories are time consuming and expensive, few developing countries, including those of the Albertine Rift, have active forest inventory programs and existing surveys are often incomplete or obsolete.

Recent research has focused on developing new methods for improving spatial estimates of above-ground biomass that are both cost-effective and accurate.  The methods integrate available field measurements with spatially-extensive information acquired from satellite imagery (i.e., remote sensing technologies).  Field measurements are used to calibrate and validate statistical models that are used to produce wall-to-wall maps of above-ground biomass.  Although forest inventory information is often used to research and develop such methods, existing inventories are often poorly suited to large-scale mapping applications because (1) the areas sampled (i.e., plots) are too small or too few, (2) the measurements are inappropriate, or (3) the data are obsolete.  Hence, new approaches to field data collection are needed.  Although remote sensing technologies hold great promise for generating regional- to continental-scale maps of above-ground biomass, new protocols are required to facilitate the linkage between field and remotely sensed data.

During the workshop, standardized protocols that ensure consistency in measurement acquisition and statistical soundness in sampling design were discussed to produce protected-area as well as national-level, continental, and pan-tropical maps of biomass/carbon stocks.

The workshop was scheduled for three days and included both theoretical (presentations and discussions on days 1 and 2) and practical (field training on day 3) components.  Day three (Friday) was optional.

November 11th (Tuesday)
Participants arrive in late afternoon/early evening for group dinner (6:00 pm) at Kaniyo Pabidi Ecotourism Site, Budongo Forest Reserve

November 12th (Wednesday)
Full-day indoor session Welcome and introductory remarks (objectives and logistics): 8:30-9:00

Nadine Laporte, Woods Hole Research Center

Wayne Walker, Woods Hole Research Center

Introduction to Budongo Forest Reserve9:00-9:30

Andrew Plumptre, Wildlife Conservation Society

Traditional forest inventory methods

Presentation: Long-term forest changes in Budongo: 9:30-10:10
 Douglas Sheil, Institute for Tropical Forest Conservation, Uganda
Presentation: Remote sensing as a tool to detect and quantify vegetation properties in tropical forest-savanna transitions: 10:10-10:30
Edward Mitchard, University of Edinburgh

***Break 10:30-11:10***

Presentation: Ecological forest inventory methods in permanent plots in the DRC:11:10-11:50
 Jean Remy Makana, Wildlife Conservation Society, D. R. Congo
Presentation: Forest Inventories in National Forestry Authority: 11:50-12:30
David Elungat, Inventory Coordinator, National Forest Authority, Uganda

***Lunch 12:30-2:00***

Case Studies

Presentation: Developing forest inventories for local communities: 2:00-2:40
Zahabu Mnkondo Eliakimu, (Faculty of Forestry and Nature) Chuo, Kikuu, Morogoro, Tanzania
Presentation: Integrated assessment of Mozambican forests: 2:40-3:20
Walter Marzoli,  Forestry Consultant

***Break 3:20-3:40***

Presentation: Sub-national carbon project activities: 3:40-4:20
Jennifer Farmer, Uganda Carbon Bureau

Directed discussion
Overall comments & REDD discussion:  4:20-5:00

Alessandro Baccini, Woods Hole Research Center

November 13th (Thursday)
Full-day indoor session Remote sensing-based forest survey methods

Presentation: Introduction to space-based monitoring of forests:  9:00-10:00
Wayne Walker, Woods Hole Research Center
Presentation: Capabilities and limitations of land cover and satellite data for biomass estimation in African ecosystems:  10:00-11:00
Valerio Avitabile,Istituto Agronomico per l’Oltremare/Carbo-Africa

***Break 11:00-11:20***

Presentation: Integration of forest inventories with remotely sensed data for biomass mapping – First results for tropical Africa:  11:20-12:00
Alessandro Baccini, Woods Hole Research Center
Presentation: Building a pan-tropical network of collaborators for forest carbon
:  12:00-12:30
Nadine Laporte, Woods Hole Research Center

***Lunch 12:30-2:00***

Invited speaker presentations

Presentation: Reforestation BioCF Project
Fredrick Njau & Irene Muthuka, Kenya Grennbelt Movement
• Presentation: FACE – Forests Absorbing Carbon Dioxide Emissions, Kibale National Park
Richard Kigenyi & Richard Muhabwe, Uganda Wildlife Authority
• Presentation: Carbon projects with local communities
Annah Agasha, Nature Harness Initiatives
Presentation: The Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners (NCEP)
Ned Horning, American Museum of Natural History

Final Remarks and Discussion

Alessandro Baccini, Woods Hole Research Center

November 14th (Friday)
Full-day outdoor session

Focus will be on training participants in implementation of the WHRC field protocol with emphasis on the following components:

  • Plot design
  • Data collection
  • Data entry/management
  • Data transfer/collaboration

Participant Affiliation Country
Alessandro Baccini Woods Hole Research Center USA
Andy Plumptre Wildlife Conservation Society Uganda
Annah Agasha Nature Harness Initiatives Uganda
Carla Cuambe Mozambique Forest Inventory Mozambique
Charles Tondo Wildlife Conservation Society Uganda
David Elungat National Forest Authority Uganda
Deo Kujirakwinja  Wildlife Conservation Society DRC
Doug Sheil  Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation Uganda
Edward Mitchard University of Edinburgh Scotland
Felix Mulindahabi Wildlife Conservation Society Rwanda
Fred Babweteera  Budongo Forest Project Uganda
Fred Kisame Wildlife Conservation Society Uganda
Fredrick Njau Greenbelt Movement Kenya
Geoffrey Mwedde  Wildlife Conservation Society Uganda
Glenn Bush Karisoke Research Centre Rwanda
Irene Muthuka Greenbelt Movement Kenya
Jared Stabach Woods Hole Research Center USA
Jean Remy Makana  Wildlife Conservation Society DRC
Jennifer Farmer Uganda Carbon Bureau Uganda
Jimton Achobo National Forest Authority Uganda
Jovin Lwehabura Jane Goodall Institute Tanzania
Julius Kyamanywa Wildlife Conservation Society Uganda
Nadine Laporte Woods Hole Research Center USA
Naome Naturinda Wildlife Conservation Society Uganda
Ned Horning American Museum of Natural History USA
Nicolas Ntare Wildlife Conservation Society Rwanda
Papy Shamavu  Wildlife Conservation Society DRC
Paul Mulondo Wildlife Conservation Society Uganda
Peter Apel Jane Goodall Institute Uganda
Richard Kigenyi Uganda Wildlife Authority Uganda
Richard Muhabwe Uganda Wildlife Authority Uganda
Ruba Amena Sudanese Government Sudan
Sami Zvikomborero Sudanese Government Sudan
Samuel Asiimwe Wildlife Conservation Society Uganda
Sood Ndimuligo Jane Goodall Institute Tanzania
Timothy Akugizibwe Wildlife Conservation Society Uganda
Valerio Avitabile CarboAfrica Italy
Walter Marzoli Independent forestry expert Italy
Wayne Walker Woods Hole Research Center USA
Wilber Wejuli National Forest Authority Uganda
Zahabu Eliakimu Sokoine University of Agriculture Tanzania