Training Sessions in Remote Sensing Help Make Sri Lanka REDD+ Ready

Training Sessions in Remote Sensing Help Make Sri Lanka REDD+ Ready

Capacity building undertaken by the UN-REDD Programme in Sri Lanka has increased awareness about a broad variety of remote sensing applications in forestry and land area change.

SriLankaRemoteSensingCapacity building training on remote sensing was facilitated in January by the UN-REDD Programme for staff of the Sri Lanka’s Forest Survey Department, Wildlife Department and Central Environment Authority. The need for this remote sensing training was identified through a gap analysis carried out by the country to better understand the current state of technical competencies in the remote sensing and GIS applications needed to achieve national REDD+ objectives. This involved a review of several government departments and universities and interviews with staff from these institutions. The analysis found that Sri Lanka’s GIS capabilities are very good, but the technical abilities to process and generate remote sensing information need to be strengthened.

The training was held at the government of Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Environment and Renewal Energy Auditorium, and was attended by 30 participants who are actively involved in generating and analyzing data. During the training, preparation of a land area change matrix and its role in development of activity data for next level GHG inventory was explained. QuantumGIS (QGIS), open-source geospatial software, was also demonstrated for raster- and vector-based data generation and analysis. As a way of ensuring the active contribution of all participants, each department was requested to present its methods for generating and analysing data. This also helped to identify gaps that need to be addressed.

The training programme focused on the complete range of possible applications for remote sensing and GIS that would enable Sri Lanka to become REDD+ ready. Organizers of the training session explained methods for assessing deforestation and forest degradation, monitoring changes through near-real time procedures using LANDSAT images and following identified good practices. To enable the participants to conduct future research and improve decision making, brainstorming presentations were also given that outlined the maximum possible application of remote sensing technologies in the areas of forestry, ecology, environment and wildlife. This training provided an additional step towards making Sri Lanka REDD+ ready.

In feedback shared at the end of the training, participants acknowledged that their understanding of remote sensing had improved and requested similar kinds of training opportunities. An additional customized training session for staff of the Wildlife Department was held in March 2014.

This training is part of a series of capacity building initiatives supported by the UN-REDD Programme to build Sri Lanka’s REDD+ readiness. (See Training on GHG inventory using IPCC guidelines and software in Sri Lanka for additional information).

Source: UN-REED Programme

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