Mali National Forest InventoryUnder the umbrella of the Austrian NAMA Initiative (Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions) an initial project appraisal for the development and implementation of a National Forest Inventory (NFI) in Mali was launched in cooperation of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management of Austria (BMLFUW), the Austrian Research Centre for Forests (BFW) and the Ministry of Environment and Public Saniaction of Mali through the Agence de l’Environnement et du Développement Durable (AEDD).
Important climatic, environmental and socio-economic developments pose new challenges on the multifunctional demands on forest resources and their sustainable management also in developing countries. For tackling these challenges National Forest Inventories (NFI) provide the fundamental data source for the assessment of the status and trends of forest resources, land uses and forest management practices. Furthermore NFI data serve for forest stakeholders and policy makers to comply with a wide range of requirements and reporting obligations at national and international level (e.g. UNFCCC, KP, FRA, CBD). Specifically for the implementation of the REDD+-initiative (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and Nationally Appropriated Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) the availability of reliable forest information based on repeated measurements is a prerequisite (UNFCCC, 2010).
Forest ResourcesMali’s forest resources are mainly located in the southern regions (Guinean and Sudanian zone) of the country. Information on the status of forest resource dates back to the early 1980ies, since then impacts on wood consumptions for fuel, home construction, medicinal purposes or land use conversion to grazing and farm land are without any control for a sustainable forest management. Furthermore deforestation has been a principal source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country in the last decade, thus the reporting obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol (KP) put further pressure on the provision of reliable and accurate forest data and information. Obviously, a NFI would definitively contribute to clarify land use development of forest resources in Mali. An expert visit in Bamako, the capital of Mali, in April 2014 showed that necessary resources for a forest inventory in terms of institutional responsibilities, expert knowledge and some technical facilities are basically available in Mali. Nevertheless, training and updating of skills are a necessary requirement when preparing a new NFI.
Long term experienceThe Austrian Research Centre for Forests has a long term experience in planning, implementing and maintaining NFIs including practical field work. Beside the logistical planning and execution of forest surveys the use of remote sensing data in the NFI process and the interpretation and assessment of results for several policy relevant requirements are key tasks of the Austrian NFI expert team. During a workshop in September 2014 in Vienna five Malian experts gained a comprehensive overview of NFI related topics like NFI concepts, NFI designs, field assessments, remote sensing techniques and basics on reporting under UNFCCC and KP.
As to summaries the results of the initial project appraisal both countries dispose of financial, technical and human resources to further support the development and implementation of a National Forest Inventory in Mali. Elaborated recommendations and key issues for the NFI process should contribute to a sound and comprehensive project proposal for a NFI support project for Mali.