An integrated team of technical experts converged Wednesday March 7, 2018 at the FAO office in Monrovia to discuss the design of the national forest emission reference level of Liberia. The meeting was organized by the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and REDD+ Implementation Unit and was hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in the context of their agreement to establish a baseline of emissions and removals accounting for the REDD+ activities and performance of the country. The technical experts at the meeting were drawn from the Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-information Services (LISGIS), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Forestry Training Institute (FTI).
The National REDD+ Coordinator, Mr. Saah A. David Jr. addressing the opening session emphasized the significance of the meeting relative to the preparation of recommendations regarding the scope, scale and definition of the forest emission reference level to inform sound policy decisions by relevant policy makers on the reference level design.
Liberia is a country with still considerable amount of the Guinean Forest which spans about 40% and which has had low deforestation rates, but due to recent economic recovery, the forestry sector is in a reform phase.
The sector is investing on commercial forest activities and still little amount of conservation. The reference level is there to measure commercial forestry, conservation and community management as an attempt to reduce deforestation, forest degradation and improve enhancement and conservation (REDD+ activities). It was recommended during the meeting that deforestation is a key activity in Liberia, which is historically driven by both subsistence farming (shifting cultivation) and the oil palm industry but the latter seems to have less and less impact in the future. Other rising drivers mentioned include charcoal production, pit sawing, logging and mining activities. It was recommended to also include degradation, forest enhancement and conservation as REDD+ activities.
It was as well recommended that the forest definition for Liberia is a natural forest with 30% tree cover, 1 ha area and 5 meters tree height. This forest would not include plantations of agricultural commercial purpose but include forest plantations.
In line with the methodological framework of the Forest Carbon Partnership (FCPF), it was recommended to set the reference period to 2007-2016, which is adherent to a ten-year period criterion with two years prior to a potential technical assessment.
The team also discussed about how priority landscapes might influence the reference level breakdown of necessary land use area data and carbon stocks from the national forest monitoring system.
The meeting was overall very successful and the recommendations will be used as a basis of further defining the reference level of Liberia, which will be a collaborative effort among FDA, LISGIS and EPA.
During the next weeks, experts from FAO will be supporting Liberia to produce the land use change assessment and to carry out the national forest inventory. The reference level will benefit from this process and it is foreseen to have the submission ready by the end of the year 2018.
Last but not least, the REDD+ office is keen on keeping the reader informed about the REDD+ actions because…REDD+ is everybody’s business… together we can improve management of and increase benefit-sharing in targeted forest landscapes!
SCENES FROM THE WORK SESSION