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Guyana boosts forest mapping capability with GIS training

Guyana: Guyana’s capacity to monitor its vast hinterland resources received a major boost with the completion of a critical 12-month course in training to handle the GIS/Remote Sensing (RS) technology. A total of 30 persons participated with 17 from the forestry sector.

“As a result of the training, the GFC (Guyana Forestry Commission) has seen a vast improvement in the quality of maps and information that were produced by the GIS Unit,” said, Deputy Commissioner, Jagdesh Singh.

“Updated and reliable GPS information was being collected by field staff, enabling the GIS Unit to produce updated maps for use during field exercises and, participants of the training are now knowledgeable about the principles and application of GIS and RS in Sustainable Forest Management.”

The project was a joint collaboration between GFC, USAID Guyana and the US Forestry Service Programme. At the technical level, it will support the work the GFC has been doing in promoting the sustainable management of the country’s State Forest Estate and the implementation of the activities under the Redd + Governance Development Plan, as part of the USD 250 million agreement between Guyana and Norway.

“The capacity and knowledge that was built, has assisted the GFC in developing new systems to support its work in ensuring forest legality. For example, GPS coordinates from stump inspections are plotted on updated GIS maps and are being provided to GFC to assist in identifying the location of trees harvested and to determine if it has been harvested within the legally allocated forest concession boundaries.”

Singh also disclosed that GFC has been providing technical support to the other land use agencies, like the Guyana Lands and Survey Commission and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission. The idea is to develop and manage GIS data to assist in the integration of GIS data generated by the land use agencies.

“The GFC sees this not as the final stage in the capacity building project with USAID, but as part of a continuous process of building local capacity in key areas of Redd+, SFM and general forestry matters.”

According to Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud, the government is moving to work with the University of Guyana and planned a mining school which will offer similar programmes. He also said that the use of GIS will be shared between the other sister agencies.

There are cases where maps produced by the various agencies are not fully correct and the sensing technology of the GIS is intended to correct this.

Source: Kaieteurnews