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Fifth National Climate Assessment - Read the Report

Improving monitoring of forest carbon stocks


SilvaCarbon provides targeted capacity-building support to help countries meet their long-term needs for improved data and information related to forest and terrestrial carbon. This includes hands-on training and technical assistance on remote sensing tools and methods, ground-based forest inventories, and data integration for accurate, transparent emissions estimation and reporting. Left: forest inventory field training in Vietnam. Middle: remote sensing data time-series analysis training in the Congo Basin. Right: carbon flux tower field training in the Andean Amazon. Source: USAID.

SilvaCarbon leverages state-of-the-art science and technology to advance the generation and use of information in managing forest and terrestrial carbon.

Tropical deforestation and forest degradation are major sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and sustainable management of tropical forest resources is an important opportunity for climate change mitigation. Many tropical forested countries have committed to providing accurate, transparent information about landscape changes and changes in forest carbon stocks and emissions, but need technical assistance to accomplish their goals.

SilvaCarbon provides coordinated technical support from multiple U.S. Government agencies (including USAID, DOS, USDA, the USGS, EPA, NASA, NOAA, and SI) to build capacity in tropical forested countries to measure, monitor, and report on forest and terrestrial carbon. By providing remote sensing and ground-based forest inventory expertise and trainings, SilvaCarbon helps countries adopt nationally appropriate tools and methods that integrate satellite data with field data for more cost-effective and systematic monitoring of forest carbon stocks and emissions.

SilvaCarbon has worked with 25 tropical forested countries to build forest and landscape monitoring capacities, promote collaboration and knowledge sharing, and facilitate technical coordination globally. SilvaCarbon is the primary U.S. contribution to the international Global Forest Observations Initiative, an international consortium working to increase availability and use of remote sensing data and tools for national forest monitoring.

Recent SilvaCarbon support resulted in the development of a REDD+ Registry for Zambia. SilvaCarbon also supported Fiji, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Nepal, and Vietnam in signing the Emission Reduction Purchase Agreement with the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility. In addition, with SilvaCarbon technical assistance, El Salvador submitted its first and Peru and Honduras submitted their second Forest Reference Levels. Finally, the SilvaCarbon Women in Forest Carbon Initiative was launched to better address gender disparities in the field of forest and carbon monitoring.