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Global Forest Survey (GFS)

As of: July 2021

The Global Forest Survey (GFS) project developed a global network of permanent control points, which provide information for a global characterization of land use forms. The collection of the data includes an extensive selection of different subject areas, for example forest resources, biodiversity, changes in carbon balance and forest status. The world-wide network of inventory parcels for land use generates records that are freely available and standardized worldwide. The data is an important basis for the countries to participate in the REDD + mechanism. The project will enable countries to report their emissions through land use changes in a uniform format to the UNFCCC. Data collection is based on a "permanent" approach, so that changes are documented over time. The data will be made available to the public via the Internet portal.
Joint project
Eco-Industrial Parks in Andra Pradesh
Successor project(s)
National Forest Monitoring and Information Systems for a transparent and truthful REDD+

State of implementation/results

  • The assessment of the first phase sample of the project has resulted in a global dataset of almost 500,000 visually assessed plots. This dataset has been used to do the first global dryland assessment and the results have been published in an FAO report and as a peer-reviewed scientific paper. A more comprehensive FAO report will be published in late 2017.
  • A subset of the first phase sample plots has been used for a successful proof-of-concept test for IPCC Land Use Representation Approach 3
  • The project has also contributed to the design of trainings on IPCC methodologies on how to assess forestry emission and removals. The trainings will be organized to enhance capacity of developing countries in reporting under UNFCCC. These trainings have also the scope to help countries representatives to support their decision making within UNFCCC on MRV modalities.
  • The project will also contribute to the revision of the IPCC guidelines through a special study on existing emission factor data.
  • The project is contributing to an analysis of NDCs to have more clarity on nationally determined contributions and potential unexploited mitigation potential that could be used by countries to close the current gap between the submitted NDCs and the atmospheric GHG pathways.
  • The project was presented at the FRA 2020 launch, the technical meeting of National Correspondents and CFRQ partners in Toluca, Mexico from the 5th to the 9th of March 2018.
  • The collection of the first phase sample data and related capacity development have allowed countries to adopt the FAO methodology and Open Foris tools for their national development plans. Examples of these countries include Kyrgyzstan, Tunisia, South Africa, Mozambique, Uruguay and Philippines. In Tunisia and Kyrgyzstan national forest authorities adopted the methodology to collect forest cover data to combat desertification, in Mozambique the National Forestry Directorate adopted the methodology for land use, land use change and forestry assessment at the national scale.

Further Links

Project data

Angola, Bolivia, Botswana, Ecuador, Malawi, Malaysia, Mozambique, Namibia, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Implementing organisation:
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Political partner(s):
  • Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) - Philippines
  • Department of Water Affairs and Forestry - South Africa*
  • Institute for Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM) - Colombia
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fishery - Angola
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MINAGRI) - Peru
  • Ministry of Environment - Ecuador
  • Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection - Zambia
  • Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) - Malaysia
  • Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism - Tanzania

BMU grant:
3.500.000,00 €

10/2014  till  09/2017


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