The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) collects key up-to-date information on forest resources for all nations worldwide through its Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010 (FRA-2010) programme. Part of FRA-2010 involves the Remote Sensing Survey (RSS) project which is carried out in collaboration with the JRC and regional/national organizations. The RSS is also able to support countries who want to develop or improve their national systems for monitoring deforestation, helping them to take part in international efforts of mitigation of climate change through the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change).
Scientists at the JRC Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES) are developing methods for monitoring forest cover resources from a global perspective. With the TREES-3, MONDE and FOREST projects, the IES will produce estimates of tree cover changes at continental and regional levels covering the Tropics and Europe for the periods 1990-2000-2005 based on a systematic sample of satellite imagery at 30 m resolution. An operational system is being developed by the JRC for the processing and tree cover change assessment of this large set of multi-temporal imagery (e.g. 4 000 sample 20 km x 20 km sites for the tropics and 2 000 sample 10 km x 10 km sites for the European continent).
Draft tree-cover results for a number of sample sites in the tropical countries (around 400 for Central Africa, 800 for Eastern and Southern Africa, 700 for Brazil and 150 for Indonesia) delivered by the JRC monitoring system provided the basis for a first set of workshops to train forestry and remote sensing experts from these countries on how to interpret the maps.
The first regional training and validation workshops in Africa were organised by IES with support from FAO in Kinshasa and Nairobi at the end of September and beginning of October. Participants from eight countries in Central Africa came for the two-week workshop in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo DRC (co-organised by University of Louvain, Belgium) and nine participants from countries in Eastern and Southern Africa took part in the one-week workshop in Nairobi, Kenya.
In October, workshops were held at the JRC's Ispra site in Italy with experts from the Forest Services of Indonesia and with experts from the Brazilian Agricultural Agency. The next workshop is to be held in Campinas, Brazil in November 2009, and other countries will be involved in training later in 2009 and 2010.