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Experts Get Access to Vital Data on Global Forest Health

UN Online Platform Gives Experts Access to Vital Data on Global Forest Health

New York, Jun 28 2013 - A new online platform launched today by the United Nations agriculture agency allows scientists and climate change experts to calculate crucial data for bioenergy strategies, including forest volume, biomass and forest carbon.

The web platform, GlobAllomeTree, was jointly developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the French Research Centre CIRAD and Tuscia University of Italy, and seeks to assist policymakers in making informed decisions that mitigate climate change.

"This is the first time that countries have access to an extensive database of tree models used to evaluate forest resources worldwide. It allows them to get a clear picture on their forests' capacities to store carbon," said FAO Forestry Officer Matieu Henry.

In forestry, allometry refers to the statistical relationships between various characteristics of tree size. Allometric equations can be used to assess many forest services, as timber production but also climate change mitigation through forestry sector for example.

The FAO-backed online tool enables users to assess stem volume, tree biomass and carbon stocks from tree characteristics such as trunk diameter, height and wood specific gravity, for various types of trees and ecological zones.

As of now, the platforms covers 61 tree species in seven different ecological zones in Europe, 263 tree species in 16 zones in North America, and 324 species in nine ecological zones in Africa. The calculation tools for South Asia, South-East Asia and Central and South America will be uploaded to the platform soon, FAO said in a news release.

GlobAllomeTree will be particularly useful for countries taking part in the UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD), as they will be able to accurately assess forest carbon stocks and carbon stock changes.

A few countries participating in the programme have already advanced their approaches to forest monitoring by using tree calculation models. For example, national institutions in Vietnam supported have conducted field measurements to develop new calculation models in a number of forest types throughout the country.

Indonesia has produced and adopted a national standard for developing tree databases, and in Mexico, national forest authorities have developed a national database and new calculation tools.

"These efforts will help countries obtain more accurate data on the status of forest resources and forest carbon stocks and changes and support implementation of national and international forestry policies," FAO concluded.

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

ENDS

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