Based on the achievements of the GEO Forest Carbon Tracking (FCT) Task through 2008 to 2010 and the Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI) through 2011 to 2016, the GFOI seeks to further foster forest monitoring and assessment that is robust, reliable, and achievable at reasonable cost and supports planning for national development priorities including, climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The GFOI aims to:
The fundamental objective of GFOI is assist REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks) developing countries to develop sovereign technical, human and institutional capacity to monitor their own forests and account for their own GHG emissions. The intention is that countries will then use this capacity to generate their own robust information to inform more reliable decision making and policy development on the appropriate management of their forests and potentially provide confidence for REDD+ activities. The work of GFOI is undertaken by five components: Methods & Guidance, Space Data Acquisition, Capacity Building, Research and Development (R&D) Coordination, and Administration and Coordination (GFOI Office).
Activities for the period
The activities will be more focusing on country engagement, including the uptake and continued use of GFOI products and mechanisms to support in countries’ forest monitoring activities. Publication of MGD2.0 and the launch of the MGD web portal. Improved coordination between GFOI components, including an ‘end-to-end’ demonstration of the full GFOI cycle which would involve all components working in synchrony in an initial country or countries, to test and prove the value of the GFOI model. GFOI fosters the sustained availability of observations for national forest monitoring systems and provides broad support to governments that are establishing these systems.
The SDCG for GFOI has produced a Three-Year Work Plan for 2015 – 2017, which was endorsed by CEOS. The Work Plan has been prepared to map out the activities of the SDCG covering the finalisation and implementation of the space data supply for GFOI.
The purpose of the GFOI Space Data coordination efforts for the period 2016 and beyond will be:
Methods and Guidance Documentation (MGD)
The Methods and Guidance documents have proven to be a very useful GFOI product. To improve the accessibility and utility of the document, the development of an MGD version 2.0 and a web application is operation. The second version of the MGD will be more user-friendly, with step-by-step instructions and less technical language, and will also include more linkages to training and decision support tools. An MGD web application aims to turn the MGD into a tool, providing more country-focused, customised support. Further integrating MGD 2.0 and the web application in to capacity building efforts will be pursued in 2016 and beyond. The MGD will develop additional modules to be included in the web application to cover new topics as they emerge. This work will be done in partner with the R&D Coordination Component, including identifying when R&D topics become operational and how countries can adopt these for use in their systems and methods.
After a brief hiatus, the GFOI R&D Coordination Component has recently been fully reinstated after receiving funding from ESA. In transitioning the R&D Plan in to action, the following key activities are foreseen in 2016 (and beyond):
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has developed a new mechanism known as REDD+. REDD+ seeks to create a financial incentive for developing countries to reduce net emissions from deforestation, forest degradation, and foster forest conservation, sustainable management of forest and enhancement of existing carbon stocks nationally. In order to access international finance from REDD+, developing countries have to be able to generate verifiable emissions reductions. To do so, they must develop national forest monitoring systems (NFMS) and emission measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) processes to prove that the emissions reductions are real. This capacity will also allow countries to track progress towards their own emissions reduction targets, generate credible information to inform domestic decision making and policy development and more generally improve forest management. GFOI is seeking to assist REDD+ countries to develop their own sovereign NFMS and MRV procedures.
Remote sensing provides a cost effective input for these systems given the expectation that REDD+ should ultimately be implemented on the national scale according to the UNFCCC.
GFOI already has established strong links with end users. These are forested developing countries, particularly those with a national commitment to implementing REDD+.
GFOI capacity building includes a broad array training, information sharing and technology transfers. This is delivered through a combination of workshops, specific training modules, one-on-one training, exchange programs, webinars and the provision of REDDcompass which is designed to serve as an ever present buddy to accompany countries all the way through their system design and development phase.
GFOI continues to grow the involvement of REDD+ countries in its activities, by inviting them to participate in the annual open forum, regular seminars, UNFCCC side-events and additional training opportunities. This allows for GFOI partners to identify the evolving needs of their end users and adjust their assistance accordingly.
The GFOI does not yet have a formalized data management policy, since the majority of data used through GFOI are supplied by data providers with data policies in place. However all partners agree on assisting developing countries to understand, analyze and use forest data that is freely available, open source, national, transparent, time series and operational datasets that best meet countries forest monitoring and reporting needs.
GFOI partners are also pursuing the Date Cube concept to assist in providing countries with analysis ready data that has been preprocessed to an acceptable level. Amongst other benefits, the Data Cube is hoped to help address issues with interoperability and reduce lengthy and resource intensive data processing for developing countries and ultimately help to reduce their transaction costs from participation in REDD+. At present Data Cubes are under development for Kenya and Colombia.
In-kind (human resources)
Members: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, USA.
Participating Organizations: CEOS, ESA, WB.
Others: Global Observation of Forest and Land Cover Dynamics (GOFC-GOLD); Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Linkages across the Work Programme
Initiatives: Earth Observations in Service of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; GEO Carbon and GHG Initiative.
Leadership & Contributors (this list is being populated)