Harmonizing global forest fragmentation analysis

International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) World Congress symposium outlines opportunities and procedures to harmonize global assessments of forest landscape patterns.  

fragmented forest landscape aerial viewConsistent global forest data are essential to support global strategies to achieve forest sustainability. Previous global reports by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization have compiled individual country data, but such data are not always comparable to other countries. With global forest maps it is possible to gather comparable data to describe forest fragmentation and other landscape patterns, but data alone are insufficient. Needed are software tools and procedures to use the data. The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) World Congress will include a symposium – the fourth in a series designed to promote international research collaborations on this topic – which will announce the motivating goal has been achieved. Now it is possible for individual countries to access the data, tools, and techniques needed to conduct a meaningful assessment at country scale, harmonized with a global assessment that is being considered for the FAO 2020 Forest Resource Assessment. This allows individual countries to interpret their results according to their own criteria while maintaining global consistency of the underlying data and analyses. Techniques and software that were developed by US Forest Service scientists and employed in US Resources Planning Act assessment process have been adapted through an international memorandum of understanding for global applications within the FAO assessment framework. The World Congress provides an ideal setting for discussions and demonstrations with specialists from many countries, in particular from developing countries which rely on external partners for forest landscape pattern analysis.


Pictured: Consistent monitoring and assessment of forest fragmentation patterns is important for understanding the many services provided by forests in natural and developed landscapes. Photo by Larry Korhnak, courtesy of Interface South.

Related publications:

Research Partners: USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory & Analysis. 

External Partners/Collaborators: Peter Vogt, European Commission Joint Research Centre.

Contact: Kurt Riitters, Research Ecologist and Team Leader, Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center, kurt.h.riitters@usda.gov.

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