SilvaCarbon Newsletter: February 2016  
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Central Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo – OSFAC Study Tour to RSAC

Salt Lake City / January 2016

Several members of the Kinshasa-based remote sensing and satellite data group Observatoire Satellital des Forets d’Afrique Centrale (OSFAC) traveled to the US Forest Service (USFS) Remote Sensing and Applications Center (RSAC) in January for a two-week study tour to help further develop OSFAC’s institutional and management structure. OSFAC senior officials were exposed to various technical and management approaches utilized by RSAC to provide similar fee-based services in the United States, and RSAC shared information on the integration of forest inventory data with remote sensing. Contact: Alex Neidermeier,  

Republic of Congo – Wetland NFI Integration

Brazzaville, Republic of Congo / December 2015

SilvaCarbon continues to support to the Forest Inventory and Management Agency of the Republic of Congo (CNIAF) on the integration of wetlands into the country’s national forest inventory. Previous USFS-led missions in the inundated forests of the Lac Tele region have produced a Congo-specific methodology for inventorying wetlands. The methodology focuses on peatlands, where vast amounts of carbon are stored. The most recent USFS mission, completed in December, tested this methodology in the field with CNIAF agents, focusing especially on training CNIAF on soil sampling in peatlands. A workshop was held in December in Brazzaville with relevant partners to discuss next steps in using this methodology to incorporate Congo’s inundated forests into the national inventory. Contact: Richard Paton,

Latin America


Peru – Wageningen University Training on Community-Based Forest Monitoring

Peru / February 6-12, 2016

The second in a series of Wageningen-led trainings on community-based forest monitoring was held in Peru. Two communities received training on the use of mobile devices for collecting monitoring data. Contact: Sylvia Wilson,

Peru – GFOI Regional Workshop on Optimizing Forest Inventory Plot Design

Tarapoto, Peru / February 1-5, 2016

In collaboration with SilvaCarbon’s research component, the Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI) implemented a regional workshop in Peru on optimizing forest inventory plot design to meet both inventory and remote sensing data needs. Through a combination of technical presentations, group discussion, hands-on experiments in "R" software and Excel, and a field activity, participants were invited to consider various factors in identifying optimal plot design, such as inventory efficiency, remote sensing pixel configuration, and cost. Contact: Sarah Marlay,

Peru – Training with Wageningen University on BFAST Time Series Analysis System

Lima, Peru / February 1-3, 2016

A training for the Peruvian Ministry of Environment (MINAM), led by Jan Verbesselt of Wageningen University, focused on the use of the BFAST time series analysis system to create alerts for forest cover change. These alerts are currently produced at Wageningen University and transferred to MINAM’s Programa de Bosques initiative and the Huanuco regional government to alert local communities, who then verify the change. Contact: Sylvia Wilson, 

Costa Rica – Launch of Design Phase of National Land Use Monitoring System 

San Jose, Costa Rica / January 25-29, 2016

Costa Rica Climate Fellow Randy Hamilton is supporting the design of a national land use monitoring system for Costa Rica that will satisfy REDD+ and other national and international reporting requirements. During the first phase of the support Dr. Hamilton invited Colleen (Chaz) O’Brien, a USFS expert in strategic and collaborative planning and other areas, to conduct interviews with key project stakeholders to gain a clearer understanding of their interests and needs. During the week of January 25-29 interviews were conducted with 28 stakeholders representing 17 different government agencies, universities, and NGOs. The Costa Rican Minister of Environment and Energy presented his vision for the collaborative effort during a successful team-building meeting and launch event at the end of the week. Some of the interviewees and participants are pictured below. Contact: Randy Hamilton, 

Guatemala – Workshop on Calculating Uncertainty

Guatemala City, Guatemala / December 15-17, 2015

SilvaCarbon Latin America coordinator Craig Wayson traveled to Guatemala to co-instruct a workshop on the theory and practice of calculating uncertainty in forest carbon estimates. Participants were from the Guatemalan Inter-institutional Group on Forest and Land Use Monitoring (GIMBUT), a consortium of technicians from different government and academic institutions. Craig Olson and Oswaldo Carrillo will continue to provide in-country and remote support to GIMBUT as they develop methodologies for calculating uncertainty levels for carbon mapping. Contact: Craig Wayson,  

Intensive Monitoring Site Development

Tapachula, Mexico, and Tiputini, Ecuador / December 2-11, 2015

SilvaCarbon is supporting the implementation of intensive forest carbon monitoring sites in Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru through the installation of covariance flux towers. In December, USFS provided technical assistance on security protocols to personnel responsible for the use and maintenance of the tower in Mexico, and installed equipment to perform the first data recording tests at the tower in Ecuador. In February USFS experts will return to calibrate the equipment on the tower in Ecuador. Contact: Craig Wayson,   

South and Southeast Asia

Bangladesh – SilvaCarbon-FAO Joint Workshop on Global Land Cover / OpenForis 

Dhaka, Bangladesh / February 7-10, 2016

Experts from the University of Maryland and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) will co-lead a workshop on the use of the OpenForis Database for Forest Inventory, integrating remote sensing data, to support the Bangladesh Forest Department in the development of their national forest monitoring system. Contact: Sasha Gottlieb,

Regional AFOLU Working Group Steering Committee Meeting

Bangkok, Thailand / February 10, 2016

An ad-hoc meeting of the AFOLU Working Group Steering Committee was scheduled for February 10 to take advantage of the fact that several members were in Bangkok for an RDMA workshop. The goal of the meeting was to discuss the Working Group’s 2016 work plan and sustainability strategy. Contact: Marija Kono, 

Regional GFOI Technical Workshop on Accuracy Assessment

Santa Rosa, Laguna, the Philippines / January 25-29, 2016

The 5th GFOI regional workshop for Southeast Asia focused on increasing understanding of good practice guidance for map accuracy assessment and reviewing current accuracy assessment efforts in the region. Available guidance from GFOI, GOFC-GOLD, and FCMC was shared with participants, and fundamental principles of design and analysis for map accuracy were reviewed in the context of REDD+ reporting. Participants were also exposed to the use of tools such as time sync to create statistically sound validation samples. The workshop helped identify some immediate technical needs of participating countries in order for them to begin implementing the good practice guidance. Contact: Sylvia Wilson,

Vietnam – FIPI Study Tour to USFS Southern Research Station and RSAC

Knoxville and Salt Lake City / January 17-27, 2016

A 5-member delegation from the Vietnamese Forest Inventory and Planning Institute (FIPI) visited the USFS Southern Research Station in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Remote Sensing Applications Center (RSAC) in Salt Lake City, Utah for a 10-day study tour on forest monitoring. The trip provided an opportunity for FIPI to learn about the Southern Research Station’s forest inventory QA/QC protocol to inform the development of their own protocol, and to draw lessons from RSAC regarding the development and management of online remote sensing and GIS database systems for long-term forest monitoring. Contact: Sarah Banks, 

Regional Work Planning

Bangkok, Thailand / December 2015

Colleagues from SilvaCarbon and SERVIR-Mekong met in December to define joint activities, including (1) SilvaCarbon’s potential contribution to the Regional Land Cover Monitoring Model that SERVIR-Mekong recently began developing, and (2) a regional workshop on improving the quality and accuracy of mangrove mapping for coastal zone management tentatively scheduled for May. In addition, SilvaCarbon coordinator Marija Kono joined planning meetings regarding the design of the new Sustainable Landscapes Program at USAID-RDMA. Contact: Marija Kono, 

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Latin America

Forest Inventory Study Tour 

Ogden, Utah / February 28 - March 5, 2016

Forest inventory specialists from Honduras, El Salvador, and Peru will participate in a weeklong study tour at the USFS Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) office in Utah. Participants will learn about FIA’s inventory methodologies and processes and explore opportunities to apply them their home countries’ forest inventory programs. Contact: Oscar Lai, 

Mangrove Carbon Monitoring Workshop

Merida and Celestun, Yucatan, Mexico / February 28 - March 4, 2015

Seven participants from Central and South America, along with Mexican counterparts, will attend a four-day workshop on carbon measurement in mangrove ecosystems in Yucatan, Mexico. Contact: Oscar Lai, 

Central America Regional Workshops on Forest Degradation

Dates and Locations TBD

The SilvaCarbon program in Central America will help facilitate two regional workshops on forest degradation. Participants will review and refine the definition of degradation, examine available methods and tools to identify and quantify degradation, and participate in hands-on training in monitoring degradation. Contact: Oscar Lai,  

South and Southeast Asia

Bangladesh – National Forest Inventory Development 

Dhaka, Bangladesh / January - April, 2016

USFS experts Olaf Kuegler and Heather Hayden will travel to Bangladesh to continue collaboration with the Bangladesh Forest Department on the finalization of the national forest inventory sampling design (mid-March) and the development of a forest inventory field manual (1/31 - 2/11), respectively. Heather Hayden will return to field-test the manual (2/28 - 3/24) and serve as a resource person for the field training (4/17 - 5/12). In March or April, Bangladeshi officials will travel to Bhutan to learn from that country’s forest inventory efforts. Contact: Sasha Gottlieb,

SERVIR-Mekong Regional Land Cover Monitoring System Workshop 

Bangkok, Thailand / March 14-16, 2016

SERVIR-Mekong is working to design and implement a regional land cover monitoring system that will address multiple users’ needs. ADB, USFS and SilvaCarbon are collaborating on this process. An initial workshop in March will convene stakeholders from the region to focus on developing a consistent regional land cover typology for categorizing land cover data. Contact: Marija Kono,

Bangladesh – Social Science Input to National Forest Monitoring System

Dhaka, Bangladesh / Spring 2016

USFS social scientist Delilah Jaworski will work with the Bangladesh Forest Department and FAO on the incorporation of socio-economic variables in the national forest monitoring system. Contact: Sasha Gottlieb,

Global Program

2016 GFOI Plenary and Open Forum

Frascati, Italy / February 22-26, 2016

The 2016 GFOI Open Forum will bring together a large group of stakeholders (institutions, individuals and countries), including SilvaCarbon representatives, to advise on and contribute to the GFOI objectives. Contact: Sylvia Wilson,  


SilvaCarbon Briefing at USAID Environment Officers Workshop

Washington, DC / February 23, 2016

On February 23 SilvaCarbon will deliver a 90-minute presentation at the USAID Environment Officers Workshop taking place from February 22-26 in Washington, DC. Presenters at the SilvaCarbon session include Evan Notman (USAID), Sarah Marlay (USFS), Jim Alegria (USFS), Matt Hansen (UMD), and Nancy Harris (World Resources Institute/Global Forest Watch). Contact: Sarah Marlay,

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About SilvaCarbon 

SilvaCarbon is US interagency technical cooperation program to build capacity worldwide in measuring, monitoring, and reporting forest and terrestrial carbon. The program helps advance REDD+ and other climate change mitigation and development initiatives by working with technical teams at government agencies in selected partner countries to develop landscape monitoring systems and greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories that can provide input to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). SilvaCarbon is also a US contribution to the Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI), leading its capacity building component. 

SilvaCarbon is jointly managed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), US Department of State, US Forest Service (USFS), US Geological Survey (USGS), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Smithsonian Institution. Program implementation is led by USFS, USGS, EPA, and NASA.

Funding for the program is provided through the USAID Sustainable Landscapes Program, the US Department of State Office of Global Change, USAID Missions in participating countries, and in-kind contributions from other SilvaCarbon agencies and partners. 

Download the SilvaCarbon fact sheet or visit the SilvaCarbon website for more information, or direct questions to Moses Jackson at
USAID, US Dept. of State, USFS, USGS, EPA, NASA, NOAA, Smithsonian


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