Uganda: FAO recently introduced new mapping technologies in Uganda that will help the country generate better, more useful forestry statistics and land cover maps. Forests and forest products are important to the livelihoods of many communities in Uganda. The new tools and information will help the government monitor national forest resources and make informed decisions regarding long-term forestry and investment policies, as well as avoid unintended forest conversion and the degradation of the productive and protective functions of forests.
In the past, the management of Uganda”s forestry sector has often been hampered by a lack of reliable data. While new advances in remote sensing and free access to satellite data can now facilitate the production of forest area data, users like the National Forest Authority of Uganda (NFA) have had limited capacity to benefit from such developments – software licenses alone can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
To update Uganda”s land cover map, FAO and NFA worked together to classify recent imagery and produce statistics during a week-long training course in satellite image processing. The NFA team learned to use a suite of open-source image processing tools to undertake the work. “The training solved our biggest problem and gave us momentum that we started land cover mapping for the whole country; something we have wanted to do for some time,” said John Diisi, the Coordinator of Geographic Information System/Mapping at the NFA.