Strengthening capacities to monitor land cover change.

Monitoring forest and land cover changes is indispensable for sustainable management of natural resources, biodiversity conservation, ecological protection and developing sustainable livelihoods, particularly for a populated country like Bangladesh. Land cover and forest monitoring activities are part of the Bangladesh Forest Inventory (BFI) carried out by the Bangladesh Forest Department (BFD). The BFI provides information for international reporting and contributes to the achievements of national targets such as Sustainable Development Goal 15 Life on Land.

With the aim of assessing changes of land cover, forest and other natural resources over time, the BFD with the technical support of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and financial support from UN-REDD programme, has developed national land cover maps of 2000, 2005 and 2010 which complement the land cover map for 2015. Mr. Rashed Jalal, a GIS and remote sensing expert from FAO, provided the overall technical support to this process since 2016. The preparation of the land cover maps is based on the National Land Representation System (NLRS) of Bangladesh and the ISO standard Land Cover Meta Language (LCML). The accuracy assessment of the land cover changes was completed through a workshop organised from 7 to 11 April, 2019, at the ICT lab of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Dhaka. During the workshop, fourteen experts from nine national entities checked the accuracy of land cover changes using satellite imagery for 2005 and 2010 for 4,921 locations. The Collect Earth Online platform and legends established using the latest version of the Land Cover Classification System (LCCSv3) were used. The results are currently being analysed by BFD to estimate stock changes in biomass, tree volume, and carbon from 2000 to 2015.

In the inaugural session, Deputy Conservator of Forests and head of the Resources Information Management System (RIMS) unit of BFD, Md. Zaheer Iqbal outlined the main aims of this workshop to the participants. He also mentioned the result from this workshop will help to level up national level activities of Forest Department like updating Forest Reference Level. Mr. Rakibul Hassan Mukul, Conservator of Forests and National Project Director of UN-REDD program highlighted the importance of the outcomes of the workshop in preparing national statistics. Dr. Kristofer Johnson, international consultant of FAO said This workshop is not only intended to improve the capacity of the participants in the technical aspects of land cover change accuracy assessment, but also will generate significant outputs which will be used in estimating several national forest related indicators.

In the closing day of the workshop, Dr. Matieu Henry, Chief Technical Advisor (CTA) of FAO, addressed the workshop as the result of a long collaborative process which started about nine years ago and resulted in robust information to support informed based decision-making processes for natural resources management and different sectors. Participants agreed that the methods, knowledge and techniques of land cover mapping, change assessment, and accuracy checking will be highly beneficial for their individual and organizational activities.

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations