Biomass experts meet in Kathmandu


An international expert group meeting on ‘Geospatial Information Systems for Multi-scale Forest Biomass Assessment and Monitoring in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan Region’ was held on 9 and 10 December 2013 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Speaking at the meeting, Dr Ganesh Raj Joshi, Secretary of the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, Nepal, emphasized the importance of linkages of ground realities with satellite remote sensing data and techniques for quantification of biomass and carbon stock.

The meeting was organized by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) within the framework of the SERVIR-Himalaya Initiative supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with International Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS).

ICIMOD’s Director Programme Operations Dr Eklabya Sharma highlighted the relevance of the ongoing REDD+ project in Nepal, a joint effort of ICIMOD, the Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioresources (ANSAB), and the Federation of Community Forestry Users Nepal (FECOFUN)

Dr MSR Murthy, ICIMOD’s Geospatial Solutions Theme Leader, highlighted the importance and objectives of the meeting and reflected on the future possibilities for forest biomass assessment.

In his keynote address, Dr Shaun Quegan of the Centre for Terrestrial Carbon Dynamics (CTCD), University of Sheffield, UK, said the BIOMASS satellite P-band wavelength will give a unique capability to measure biomass in all the world’s forests when it launches in 2020. 

In the course of two days, about 22 regional and international participants presented papers during the technical sessions. They touched upon different aspects of policy, remote sensing, ground data, techniques, and methodologies. The geospatial and forestry experts were split into three working groups to discuss and formulate further recommendations on implementation of geospatial data and techniques for accurate estimation of biomass and carbon.  

A concluding panel discussion was attended by the ICIMOD Director General Dr David Molden where representatives of ICIMOD regional member countries and international experts expressed their views to address issues and challenges at the policy and technical level in the HKH region. The importance of capacity building and awareness campaigns for effective monitoring and reporting of forest carbon stocks was highlighted.