The United Nations agriculture agency has created new guidelines to help countries develop a strong mechanism to monitor national forest resources.
"The demand for reliable, up-to-date and more diverse forestry data and stronger analytical capacities at a national level has grown considerably in recent years," said Eva Muller, Director of Forestry Policies and Resources Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
"Understanding forest resources and how they change is key to address climate change and make progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)," she added.
In 2010, only 45 countries worldwide were able to assess changes in forest area and characteristics through consecutive systematic national forest inventories, suggesting a serious gap in information. Moreover, it is likely that the data collected is incomplete. It is common for forest inventories to collect data on more than 100 variables.
The guidelines aim to fill this gap, drawing on experiences and lessons learned from FAO member countries and FAO national forest monitoring projects, and provide good practices, and a framework and tools for planning and implementing multi-purpose national forest monitoring, she added.