The UN Food Organization (FAO) has launched a new online platform for reporting on the status and trends of the world’s forest resources.
The platform enables countries to increase the efficiency of their reporting process and improve the consistency, reliability and transparency of forest data.
It will be used for the next 2020 Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) report.
The tool developed by FAO with financial support from the European Union and the Government of Finland was presented at a special high-level ceremony in Toluca, Mexico.
Revamped reporting system
“Assessing the state of the world’s global forest resources requires consistent and reliable data,” said FAO Senior Forestry Officer Anssi Pekkarinen.
“The new platform allows countries to improve their capacity to compile up-to-date and precise forest data, reduces reporting burden, and allows to better measure progress towards the 2030 Agenda.”
The new tool contains a number of new features including improved data entry and data visualization, and review and analysis functions. The platform has a more user-friendly interface, which allows adding data, copying and pasting from existing entry sheets and documenting national data sources.
For the first time since FRA 2000, the number of assessment variables has been significantly reduced which eases the reporting burden for countries.
The platform uses Google Earth Engine and for the first time will provide all 171 FRA National Correspondents – officially nominated national forest authorities who are responsible for compiling the country reports – as well as their collaborators free access to vast global data repositories and analytical tools alongside the computing power of Google.
“This announcement builds on our productive three year partnership with FAO that we signed at COP 21 in Paris,” said Rebecca Moore, Director, Google Earth, Earth Engine & Earth Outreach.
“We are excited to enable all countries with equal access to the latest technology in support of global climate action and sustainable development.”
The tool makes it easy even for people without prior remote-sensing experience to access satellite imagery and other geospatial data to monitor national forest cover and land-use changes over time.