Forest carbon monitoring is critical to evaluating whether policies aiming to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from forest change are achieving their goals. The objective of this brief is to highlight the technical capacity needs for implementing national systems for forest carbon monitoring. This paper assesses the technical capacity in seven countries—Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, South Africa, and Thailand—for monitoring forests, forest change, and associated carbon dioxide emissions and removals. The results can be used by national agencies and the international community, including donor agencies and non-governmental organizations, to identify priorities for capacity-building and funding.
Based on findings from the assessment, the seven countries would benefit from the following:
- Establishing processes to regularly and more frequently update data to enable understanding of trends in forest change.
- Ensuring consistency of monitoring methods to allow comparison of data and interpretation of change over time.
- Improving spatial resolution of forest monitoring where important drivers of forest change are difficult to detect with mid-resolution satellite imagery.
- Establishing or updating national forest inventories regularly to enable accurate estimates of carbon dioxide emissions/removals.
- Developing protocols and training programs to guide and harmonize sub-national data collection.
- Strengthening data management and sharing among government agencies to enable integration of forest change information with other land use, permitting and tenure data.