19 November 2015

Africa: Improved Web Tool for Better Estimates of Forest Biomass and Carbon Stocks

press release

Rome — Data crucial for efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change

An updated version of the online tree assessment tool known as GlobAllomeTree will now allow countries to get a clearer picture of the biomass, carbon content and ecosystem services of trees and forests than previously possible.

GlobAllomeTree helps scientists, foresters, private companies and policymakers improve the assessment of forest carbon stocks and prepare greenhouse gas inventories, necessary for mitigation of climate change.

"Access to good quality data on the status of forests is one of the main bottlenecks for mitigating climate change via the forestry sector. More accurate data will enable countries to make better informed decisions. GlobAllomeTree provides tools which help countries to better assess how much carbon their trees store and their emissions reductions," said FAO Forestry Officer Matieu Henry.

Under the UN's Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation REDD program, countries are offered incentives to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation through sustainable forest management, forest conservation and enhancing forest carbon stocks. GlobAllomeTree helps them to quantify and report these emissions reductions in a transparent way.

Largest tree data repository

The upgraded version of the platform contains a number of new features including databases of biomass expansion factors, raw data on trees, species lists and wood density. It contains over 13,000 statistical models that can be used to asses tree resources and carbon stocks and data on almost 2,000 tree species worldwide, presented in a harmonized form for ease of comparison.

The new version also offers a user forum to facilitate discussion and collaboration between users around the world and share data for forest and tree volume, biomass and carbon stock assessment.

The platform also includes manuals and tutorials for the development and use of models to improve tree volume and biomass assessment.

Global interest

With users in over 120 countries, the platform has already been of use to a number of national forestry authorities for the development of models that improve the robustness of their forest resource assessments.

In Mexico, for example, in collaboration with GlobAllomeTree, the national forestry commission CONAFOR has developed a national database of models and was one of the first countries to make these available for others to benefit from.

In Viet Nam, forestry institutions have been preparing a national database of tree models that is available on the national REDD+ website as well as on GlobAllomeTree. Manuals and tutorials available on GlobAllomeTree have been used to develop national guidelines and databases that support better national forest resource assessment.

In Tanzania, national partners worked with FAO to collect forest inventory data and develop new national tree models. The models and wood density databases are available on GlobAllomeTree.

Initially launched in 2013, the platform was jointly developed by FAO, the French Research Centre CIRAD and Tuscia University of Italy.

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