National Forest Monitoring System
In so far as the design of a National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS) for REDD+, PNG has managed to finalise the NFMS and submitted 1st FRL to the UNFCCC for technical assessment in January 2017 (http://redd.unfccc.int/submissions.html?country=png). PNG’s REDD+ efforts and readiness in the area of NFMS and FRL have been led by PNGFA, with close support and collaboration from CCDA and technical assistance from FAO and JICA. Alongside the technical support and development work, numerous stakeholder events on NFMS and FRL have been held to bring together all relevant parties. Information drawn from these meetings has informed the development of an NFMS Roadmap for PNG which has been implemented.
The capacity on forest monitoring of PNG using remote sensing technology has significantly improved in recent years with enormous advances made through the technical support from FAO under the UN-REDD Programme, EU funded NFI project and close collaboration with JICA project. One of the most significant achievements being the development of a forest monitoring GIS web-portal (https://png-nfms.org/portal/) through which numerous land use layers can be visualised. The GoPNG through PNGFA also completed national land use change assessments using the FAO developed Open Foris Collect Earth in 2015 and 2019.
Alongside this, PNG has undertaken a national-level Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) assessment by point sampling based approach, a wall-to-wall approach through a system called TerraPNG, housed and managed within the CCDA. Full-time GIS operators are in place in both PNGFA and CCDA to ensure the sustainability of this support.
PNG developed and has been improving NFMS including MRV (Measurement, Reporting and Verification) function using FAO developed Open Foris Tool (Collect Earth, Collect, Collect Mobile and Calc) as well as mapping function using TerraAmazon as TerraPNG. PNG developed FRL using the data from NFMS and submitted it to UNFCCC in January 2017. Technical Assessment by UNFCCC had been conducted throughout 2017 and the revised FRL was officially published by UNFCCC at early 2018. PNG had also prepared NRS and officially released it in 2017. PNG currently working on SIS.
PNG has made great progress on the REDD+ readiness and is now moving to its implementation and the results based payment. As a base for implementation and monitoring, PNG had prepared GHG-Inventory and Biennial Update Report (BUR) with Technical Annex on REDD+ in 2018 and submitted the compiled summary reports to UNFCCC in April 2019. Technical Assessment by UNFCCC had been conducted for PNG BUR and Technical Annex on REDD+ from August to the end of 2019 then a technical assessment report had been released by UNFCCC in early 2020.
Under the Cancun Agreement, NFMS should have two functions; “Monitoring” function to monitor REDD+ activities and “MRV” function to measure and report the performance of REDD+ activities to UNFCCC; which then undergoes verification. PNG established a robust domestic MRV system, which contains in-country verification using two different methods (point sampling and wall-to-wall mapping) with tools (Collect Earth and TerraPNG) hosted by different government organizations; PNG Forest Authority (PNGFA) and Climate Change and Development Authority (CCDA).
As part of the monitoring function, PNG established and officially released PNG REDD+ and Forest Monitoring Web-Portal (http://png-nfms.org/portal/) in 2017 by Prime Minister to disseminate forest and land use information related to REDD+ to the public ensuring transparency of PNG REDD+ progress. This portal is recognized as an achievement by various government and private organizations in PNG to share the REDD+ related information in one single platform for the first time in PNG. Anybody and organizations can utilize this portal to promote the achievements related to REDD+ in PNG.
PNG’s REDD+ and Forest Monitoring Web-Portal was established for disseminating forest and land use information to public for ensuring the transparency of PNG REDD+ process. The web portal was developed jointly by CCDA and PNGFA. Other government agencies and private sectors (Conservation and Environmental Protection Authority, Mineral Resources Authority, National Statistics Office, etc) are responsible for providing all the necessary data needed for the web-portal. The web-portal is managed by CCDA who is responsible for publishing and updating the online information.
After the Web-Portal was launched in 2017, PNG had made a lot of new achievements (products with publications) related to the forest and land use in PNG, such as “Forest and Land Use Change in Papua New Guinea 2000 – 2015”, which explains the results and method of Collect Earth assessment in PNG, which was used as a base data for FRL and BUR. There are also several new achievements related to REDD+ and land use in PNG initiated by CCDA with support of FCPF/UNDP. The updating and enhancement of the Web-Portal were completed in 2021 and released as “PNG Climate Change and Forest Monitoring Web-Portal” in 2022.
Regarding MRV system, PNG was the first country to use Collect Earth for LULUCF assessment and FRL and some of the other countries followed afterwards. On the other hand, many other countries use Wall-to-Wall mapping assessment. Based on the outcomes, challenges and lesson learnt from forest and land use change assessment in PNG 2000-2015, PNGFA organized the advantages and limitations of Collect Earth point sampling method compared with other methods (wall-to-wall mapping, such as TerraPNG). The overview of two different methods is illustrated in Figure below.
In terms of “MRV”, measurement frequency is annual based (by Collect Earth) and reporting is biennial based (for BUR). Such national reports need to be produced with great care, based on accurate and scrutinized data. The assessment and analysis require substantial time and resources. Consequently, there will be a considerable time lag before information such as deforestation is announced. In terms of “Monitoring”, the needs to monitor the potential deforestation areas in the national protected areas, REDD+ project areas and logging constraints areas more frequently such as monthly or even weekly have been raised by the stakeholders including the government agencies, CSOs and academic institutions. Near-real-time information enable responsible authorities and organizations including the communities to take necessary measures against unplanned or unauthorized forest clearing, and prevent from further expansion.
Considering the situation above, the GoPNG decided to develop prototype PNG Deforestation Alerts and Monitoring System using the latest technologies with FAO assistance with affordable cost in the world and information existing in PNG, as a part of Monitoring Function under NFMS, to consider the potentials and issues/challenges for PNG. This new system is complementing the existing and potential systems in PNG, and collaboratively developed and managed by the several government organizations in PNG.
PNG launched a first-ever Multipurpose National Forest Inventory (NFI) in March 2016, along with the PNG Forest Monitoring and REDD+ Web-portal receiving national attention and official endorsement from the Prime Minister of PNG. These initiatives aimed to accurately estimate GHG emissions from forest and land use change meeting the requirements of Tier 3 emission factors (as prescribed by the IPCC for REDD+ Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV).
The NFI’s methodology and approach was built on the methods and capacity developed within the PNG Forest Authority (PNGFA) over a number of years. It was anticipated that the data generated by the NFI would significantly improve the accuracy of GHG estimations in the LULUCF sector and provide essential information related to the REDD+ (environmental and social) safeguards in PNG. The GoPNG and the EU had been financing this work with technical support from FAO. This program ended in 2019 with achieving its objectives with the main deficiencies observed in a number of areas related to the collection of flora and fauna biodiversity information and the development of detailed emission factors for different forest types as well as for different levels of forest degradation.
PNG Multi-Purpose National Forest Inventory Booklet
1st National Forest Inventory PNG: Field Manual
PNG’s 1st Multi-Purpose NFI: Project Proceeding
Proceedings of the 2nd NFI Research Conference
So far, only initial data has been derived from the total area earmarked. Information availability on land use and land use change will be a major step forward and a milestone achievement for the country. Based on this forest inventory and via input obtained from respective stakeholders, important measures such as the National Sustainable Land Use Policy (NSLUP), will be a possible future objective and a major advantage for the country.
The capacity on forest monitoring of PNG using remote sensing technology has improved significantly in recent years. However, a large information gap still remains. National scale information on carbon stock in the diverse forests subject to different disturbances is poorly known. Previous studies were too scattered and the estimation of average carbon stock in PNG forests were often contradictory. With the data derived from the NFI these deficiencies will be greatly improved in subsequent reporting periods.
The two key government organisations responsible for the measuring, reporting and verifying the results are CCDA and PNGFA. Other government departments provide auxiliary information for the REDD+ implementation. For example, Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) is responsible for providing data on conservation and protected area; the Department of Agriculture and Livestock provides information on agriculture plantation area and type; and the information on administrative areas are provided by the National Statistics Office (see BUR section 4.4 for further information).