JGI: Applying Technology to Inform Tanzania’s Forest Carbon Strategy
The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) recently brought together key players to support Tanzania in developing a coordinated system for monitoring the carbon stored in its forests.
The workshop held in Tanzania included scientists and policymakers from organizations such as JGI, Woods Hole Research Center, Google Earth Engine, Tanzania UN-REDD Program, University of Dar es Salaam, Sokoine University of Agriculture, and the Tanzanian Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism’s Forestry and Beekeeping Division.
Protecting Forests and Species Slows Climate Change
Protecting tropical forests, which store massive amounts of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, was one of the key areas of focus at the December 2010 UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico. The program under discussion, called REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus), would slow climate change by providing incentives to developing countries to keep their remaining forests standing, protect their forest species and help local communities improve forest management.
Mapping and Monitoring the Carbon in Forests
In addition to presentations and full group discussions, the workshop included smaller breakout sessions like this one.
According to Dr. Lilian Pintea, JGI’s vice president of conservation science, “In order for REDD to work, it is critical that stakeholders be able to reliably map and monitor the amount of carbon stored in large forested areas.”
At the workshop, which was funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Tanzania, participants exchanged information on the latest developments in satellite remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) used to monitor the content of and changes in forest carbon. They also explored the critical issues surrounding the use of these technologies to support Measuring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) systems for forest carbon in Tanzania. In addition, participants provided updates on ongoing activities to map and monitor carbon stocks within the country
One of the primary objectives of the meeting was to work toward establishing a standard methodology in Tanzania to map and monitor forest carbon that can be applied at the local community level and national and international scales. Final recommendations from the workshop will be shared with Tanzania’s National REDD Task Force to support the development of a harmonized forest MRV system in the country.
JGI’s Forest Carbon Pilot Projects
At the workshop, which was held at the end of October, Dr. Pintea presented JGI’s experiences using remote sensing and GIS technology combined with on-the-ground field measurements. The Institute has used these tools to map and monitor forests and miombo woodlands within JGI’s REDD pilot project in western Tanzania. The lessons learned from JGI’s REDD project will help inform Tanzania’s national REDD strategies. In addition to slowing climate change, the project will help reduce poverty and preserve the forests and chimpanzees that live within them. JGI, in collaboration with a number of partners, is also initiating a REDD preparedness project in western Uganda.