Large-area forest assessments are attracting increasing attention owing to their role in providing information related to carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation and enhancement of rural livelihoods. The information needs actually hold good for all geographic levels from the local to the global. Forest assessments on national level are of particular interest because countries that wish to engage in the REDD initiative and to benefit from results-based payments, need to give quantitative evidence of their progresses in enhancing their forest resources.
This contribution analyzes the capacity building needs for national forest assessments with a focus on the situation in developing countries, identifies key areas in which national capacity may be developed and makes suggestions for implementation. India's forest assessment systems are used as an example.
The National Forest Inventory (NFI) system needs to be institutionalized to ensure a practical way for proficient monitoring and analysis of forest ecosystems. The institutions established to carry out NFI require continued institutional and financial support with qualified and committed scholars and professionals from relevant disciplines, including forest mensuration, forest inventory and remote sensing.