Satellite images to be used in mapping forests in Fiji
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) has embarked on a program to build capacity in mapping land/forest cover in Fiji using very high resolution satellite images, according to SPC Regional Community Forester Jalesi Mateboto on Thursday.
The program has three phases consisting of both theory and practical work, including "ground truthing" (on-site verification of data from satellite imagery) exercises to be held later this month, Jalesi Mateboto said.
The training, which is jointly organized by SPC's Land Resources Division (LRD) and its Applied Geoscience and Technology (SOPAC) Division, involves participants from the Fiji's Department of Forestry and SPC.
The ground truthing exercise will be undertaken in Drawa, a model area for sustainable natural resource management located in the Northern Division of Fiji's Vanua Levu (island), which covers about 6,400 hectares of indigenous forest.
The first phase of the training exercise focuses on enhancing and analyzing satellite images of Drawa forest to classify it into different forest types and using the information to conduct forest inventory for the estimation of forest carbon stock per unit area of each forest type.
The second phase of the training will include establishing monitoring plots with wood and carbon stock assessment, while the third phase will focus on carrying out a biodiversity survey.
Mateboto explained that two projects currently support the work in Drawa are Live & Learn and the Land Owners Association of Drawa.
Live & Learn is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that is conducting community-based activities related to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in the area with financial support from the European Union.
The Land Owners Association of Drawa is implementing the Drawa Forest Biodiversity Conservation Project with a grant from the Global Environment Fund (GEF) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
SPC's Land Resources Division is joining the work in response to requests from these projects for technical support.
The objectives of SPC's involvement in Drawa are to build the capacity of community groups, NGOs and the relevant government agencies in the area of forest monitoring and forest carbon assessment, to provide accurate forest carbon data to assist the community-based activities related to REDD+ and to test and improve the monitoring, assessment and reporting manual for sustainable forest management in the Pacific Island countries, says Mateboto.
It is hoped that these activities will also contribute to the establishment of Fiji's national Measurement, Reporting and Verification system, strengthening the country's REDD+ program.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the German development cooperation agency Deutsche Gesellschaft fr Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) are supporting this exercise, which also responds to some of the forestry priorities specified in the SPC/Fiji Joint Country Strategy.