As part of the US Government Interagency SilvaCarbon Initiative, The University of Maryland (UMD) is working with colleagues in governmental institutions in SilvaCarbon countries in three regions (South East Asia, Latin America and Central Africa) on enhancing land cover and forest monitoring in support of national carbon accounting programs. SilvaCarbon is an Interagency Initiative with US Forest Service (USFS) and the US Geological Survey (USGS) jointly implementing a 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.
This project is focused on the Congo Basin countries for year one but future work may be proposed for other countries and regions within Africa based upon availability of USFS funding. Year one activities will focus on support to partners in Cameroon where USFS has been engaged since 2015. USFS-IP country program agreed to provide technical assistance and capacity building to Cameroon government institutions on the designing and implementation of the national monitoring system (NFMS). In 2017, SilvaCarbon initiated collaboration between the REDD+ National Secretariat (ST REDD+) at the Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED), Cameroon and the University of Maryland to implement the GLAD System for forest cover change mapping in Cameroon.
The ST REDD+ was previously the agency mandated to conduct forest resource assessment at the national level and has now been replaced by the National Observatory of Climate and Change (NOCC). The collaboration was facilitated through a USGS grant and included two trainings for the ST REDD+ technical officers, installation of one desktop servers outfitted with UMD's Landsat characterization tool at ST REDD+, and remote technical support.
The collaboration resulted in production of annual forest cover and change maps for the period between 2000-2015, and implementing stratified sampling approach for unbiased forest extent and change area estimation. The Cameroon counterparts used these products in the design of the Emissions Reduction Program Document to adjust the carbon accounting approach. The collaboration was crucial for strengthening the capacities and confidence of ST REDD+ and the Cameroon MRV platform entities in generating nationally-owned data with additional support from the German firm GAF-AG and the Italian firm SIRS through the French geospatial agency IGN-FI.
STREDD+ and NOCC who are leading the process, requested support from SilvaCarbon to continue the collaboration with UMD. This is of particular importance as NOCC is now directly responsible for implementing the monitoring and reporting components of Cameroon through the UNFCCC mechanisms.
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 project is to continue supporting the collaboration between the Cameroon MRV framework (REDD+ National Secretariat, Cameroon National Observatory of Climate Changes and Department of Forest monitoring and inventory) 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 Cameroon.
- Transfer capacity to the Cameroon Observatory of Climate Change to utilize the GLAD system for operational national application.
- Investigate the possibility to integrate tree height data for improved biomass estimates at national level during the future National Forest inventory
- Finalize statistic data and maps for 2000-2018 period to be used to publish the first Atlas of land cover extend and change per region.