Introducing new, open-source software for forest monitoring

Cleared Forest area in Brazil

Cleared Forest area in Brazil. Picture: Cyro Jose Soares

The Open Foris initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) was presented for the first time on 10 October at the World Congress of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) in Salt Lake City, USA. Open Foris is a set of free and open-source software tools that facilitates flexible and efficient data collection, analysis and reporting. For example, the tools can be used around the world to gather information regarding forest areas, to assess woodland condition and to measure woodland use and the carbon content they store. A key instrument here is 'Collect Earth', which enables users to collect high-resolution satellite images via Google Earth. These images can then be used to create forest inventories as well as forestry and land use plans, and to quantify deforestation and desertification.

Link to the initiative's website with the different software tools: www.openforis.org (external)

Open Foris is being developed in cooperation with the International Climate Initiative (IKI) project 'National forest monitoring and information systems for a transparent REDD+ process'. This project is working with 18 partner countries to promote knowledge transfer, capacity building and the exchange of experience and ideas in the context of implementing a newly-developed software tool for forest monitoring. One of the ways it is doing this is by running training courses in its partner countries, which can benefit by using the knowledge they gain to design forest protection measures and secure international financing for them.