Forest monitoring systems and measurement, reporting and verification

Since 2008, the UN-REDD Programme has supported the development of a variety of technical solutions to assist countries in REDD+ Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) and for transparency in REDD+ efforts.

These tools include the free and opensource Open Foris (OF) suite maintained under the UN-REDD Programme. Open Foris enables countries to design and host NFI database (Collect), enable efficient field data collection (Collect Mobile), and analyse (Calc) and provide information on NFI and FRL/FREL reporting. It also includes tools for collecting activity data with the help of Collect Earth and Collect Earth Online. In addition, Open Foris suite contains a cloud-based solution for accessing space data and applying remote-sensing processing chains under the SEPAL (System for Earth Observation Data Access, Processing and Analysis for Land Monitoring). SEPAL achieved great visibility and success during 2018: by December 2018, it had over 1,600 active users representing 132 countries.

In 2018, Open Foris in MRV training events were organized in Argentina, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Liberia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Sudan, Uganda and at the FAO headquarters in Rome. The Open Foris suite was also presented at COFO 24 in July 2018. Several projects, companies, organizations and universities also used Open Foris tools in 2018, such as GIZ, the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), and the United States Forest Service (USFS) – Silva Carbon. SEPAL training events were organized in 2018 in Liberia, Nigeria, Uganda, Côte d’Ivoire, Sudan, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, Ecuador, Guyana and Mexico. Active online technical support was provided to several countries via e-mail, Skype and the Open Foris community site.

In 2018, transparent online NFMS web portals continued to be developed in DRC and Mongolia, and remote support was given to Bhutan, Suriname and Viet Nam.

The UN-REDD Programme started combining the existing Open Foris tools into a cloud-based solution that will better serve NFMS and their related capacities for MRV. The new system is planned to be operational by the year 2020.

Highlights of achievements in 2018:

  • SEPAL was added to Open Foris tools, enabling SEPAL users to use the Open Foris website to access the tool, online support and informative materials.
  • Collect Earth Online was launched and added to Open Foris website. This tool is a web-based platform that allows users to systematically inspect any location on the Earth with satellite data to identify the corresponding land-cover type. Collect Earth Online has been developed by SERVIR, a collaboration between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) program, together with FAO. It was launched at a UNREDD Special Event Forests First – From 10 Years of REDD+ to the Full Scope of Nature-Based Climate Solutions at COP24 in Katowice.
  • Ethiopia and Bangladesh completed their NFIs, both using Open Foris tools during their projects.

This report is made possible through support from Denmark, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the European Union.