Geoportal helps Sri Lanka take major step on road to implementing REDD+

27th March 2017 by CMIA

27 March, 2017, Rome – Sri Lanka has taken a significant step on the road towards REDD+ implementation with the launch of an online geoportal that will help the country to improve its forest monitoring systems.

The geoportal, piloted by FAO, is part of the UN-REDD National Programme, an initiative aimed at helping developing countries in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). With its connection to Sri Lanka’s National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS), the geoportal will contribute to tracking the country’s ambitious forestry development agenda and its target set under the Nationally Determined Contributions to increase the forest cover from 29.7 percent to 32 percent.

Several Sri Lankan government agencies collaborated with FAO to develop this online geoportal. This new system brings together information from the Satellite Land Monitoring System, which collects and assesses activity data related to forest areas; the National Forest Inventory (NFI), with information relevant for estimating emission factors such as forest carbon stocks and forest carbon stock changes; and greenhouse gas inventory data.

Credible NFMS systems that measure, report and verify data concerning the condition of the country’s forests is critical for decision making to reduce threats to Sri Lanka’s forests and contribute to their preservation. The country’s National REDD+ Investment Framework and Action Plan (NRIFAP) under finalization aims to enhance the role that Sri Lanka’s forests play in mitigating the adverse effects caused by increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and overall, will help Sri Lanka move closer to achieving its development and mitigation targets.

“We now have an acceptable method to monitor the forests in Sri Lanka, as we work towards increasing Sri Lanka’s forest cover according to the Vana Ropa programme of the Government of Sri Lanka,” said Conservator General of Forests Anura Sathurusinghe during the official launch of the geoportal.

Measurement, reporting and verification of forest-related emissions must be based on reliable data collected and analyzed in accordance with Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidance. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) considers an NFMS essential for countries implementing REDD+.

When Sri Lanka begins to implement its NRIFAP, the country could be eligible to receive funding from donor countries and institutions to increase its forest cover in response to the threat of global warming and climate change.

Sri Lanka’s Forest Department, the Department of Wildlife Conservation, Survey Department, Climate Change Secretariat, Central Environment Authority and the Natural Resource Management Centre came together as part of a national task force formed to serve and offer technical advice and expertise on the development of the portal.

The online portal, which includes a wide variety of maps, satellite imagery, and information on a range of protected areas and geo physical features, is designed to be accessible to the public, meeting demands for information that is transparent as well as consistent.

By: FAO Forestry Newsroom