In 2016, SilvaCarbon initiated collaboration between Forest Research and Training Centre (FRTC) at the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Nepal and University of Maryland to implement the GLAD System for forest cover change mapping in Nepal. FRTC is the agency mandated with conducting forest resource assessment at national level.
The collaboration was facilitated through US Geological Survey (USGS) grant and included: two trainings for the FRTC technical officers (one in Nepal and a second one at the University of Maryland), installation of two desktop servers outfitted with UMD’s Landsat characterization tool at FRTC, and remote technical support.
The collaboration resulted with producing annual forest cover and change maps for the period between 2001-2016, and implementing stratified sampling approach for unbiased forest extent and change area estimation. In collaboration with Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), it was decided to use these products in the revision of the Emissions Reduction Program Document to adjust the carbon accounting approach. The collaboration was crucial for strengthening the capacities and confidence of FRTC staff in generating nationally-owned data. SERVIR-Himalaya is also part of the process, with the view of future regional upscaling and providing backstopping support to FRTC. Technical personnel from SERVIR-HKH Hib attended both training for FRTC specialists and received a similar hardware and Landsat analysis ready data for regional forest cover characterization.
FRTC requested support from SilvaCarbon to continue the collaboration with UMD. This is of particular importance as FRTC is now directly responsible for implementing the monitoring and reporting components of the ERPD of the FCPF Carbon Fund.
SilvaCarbon is an Interagency Initiative with USFS and USGS jointly implementing number of activities; Therefore, this project will be carried out in close collaboration with SilvaCarbon Program, and will include USFS and USGS staff during the development of forest extent and change maps, product derivation and iteration.
The main objective of the current research project is to continue supporting the collaboration between FRTC and UMD in order to improve the national forest cover change data, specifically:
- Improve the national and sub-national forest cover extent and change estimates for Nepal.
- Transfer capacity to FRTC to utilize the GLAD system for operational national application.
- Investigate the possibility to integrate tree height data for improved biomass estimates at national level. Specifically, the lidar data collected by FRTC will be used to calibrate national or sub-national tree height model.
- Assess the potentials using the field inventory data for Landsat-based model calibration.