A large part of the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region is covered by forests, which play a vital role in confronting the challenges of climate change and providing livelihood options to a growing population. The last few decades have seen high levels of deforestation and forest degradation in the region. The changes in forest cover due to growth dynamics, management, harvest, and natural disturbances may change the role and function of forest ecosystems. Land use conversions from forest to other land uses often result in a substantial loss of carbon from the biomass pool. However, there is a significant gap in terms of a cohesive framework and information to assess and monitor these changes on a regular basis across the region. In this context, ICIMOD has taken an initiative to develop periodic forest cover monitoring systems and to identify forest change proneness areas which need critical forest management attention. As part of the SERVIR-Himalaya Initiative, ICIMOD has consolidated Landsat-based decadal land cover change assessments in the countries of the of the HKH region.
The World Resources Institute (WRI) through its Global Forest Watch (GFW) initiative has developed a new online forest monitoring system that unites satellite technology and human networks to mobilize faster, more effective forest conservation and sustainable forest management. GFW combines near real-time forest clearing alert systems, complementary satellite data and GIS layers, and crowdsourcing to create never before possible transparency at the global scale.
ICIMOD and WRI are collaborating for activities related to the GFW initiative to increase the sharing of technology and data for improved forest cover information in the Hindu Kush Himalaya region.
The stakeholder workshop is being jointly organized by ICIMOD and WRI to present the new developments in forest cover mapping and discuss the development of a Regional Forest Cover Monitoring System for Hindu Kush Himalayas using GFW data and technology with initial focus on Nepal.