Using GIS for monitoring forest cover change and carbon stocks

Date 5 Apr 2021 to 9 Apr 2021
Venue Dhulikhel, Kavrepalanchok, Nepal
Contact Persons
Type Training

Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+) is an approach to address conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. The REDD Implementation Centre (REDD IC) under Nepal’s Ministry of Forests and Environment (MoFE) leads REDD+ readiness activities, implementation of emission reduction programmes, and demonstration of REDD+ outcomes in Nepal. The centre works towards the development and use of reliable, transparent, and credible systems for robust and functional monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) of forest carbon stocks.

Traditional methods of carbon mapping are expensive and challenging to use for large areas. Earth observation (EO) coupled with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), can serve high-resolution, spatially explicit forest maps to monitor changes in forest cover and carbon stocks to support MRV processes. GIS provides a variety of tools to support data management, research, decision-making, and tracking for forestry professionals and enables them to test and consider choices in both temporal and spatial environments. However, gaps in capacity at individual and institutional levels in Nepal has limited the adoption and operational use of GIS data and EO technologies in forest applications. Capacity development in the field of forest cover change and carbon stock monitoring workflows using GIS data and tools can contribute to bridging the capacity gap and underpin the achievement of REDD+ goals for regular and effective monitoring of forests.

In this regard, REDD IC in collaboration with ICIMOD’s SERVIR Hindu Kush Himalaya (SERVIR-HKH) initiative will conduct a five-day training on “Using GIS for monitoring forest cover change and carbon stocks” from 5–9 March 2021 in Dhulikhel, Kavrepalanchok, Nepal. This training is a part of SERVIR-HKH’s institutional capacity building activity for REDD IC professionals and other relevant government agencies in the forestry sector.

This training will cover a wide range of topics, including GIS concepts and applications in forest monitoring along with hands-on exercises on vector and raster data visualization and analysis, forest area mapping, exploring Open Foris tools, forest change analysis, carbon stocks calculation and map production. The training will be delivered using a blended learning approach – presentations and guided practical exercises to enhance the scientific and technical skills on the effective use of GIS in forest monitoring to meet the REDD+ goals.


To train professionals working at the Nepal REDD IC and in other relevant government departments in the use of GIS for forest monitoring and carbon mapping.

Expected Outcomes

Upon completion of the training, the participants will have a better understanding of the concepts and applications of EO/GIS in forest monitoring and carbon mapping, enabling them to apply this knowledge in their working areas, while also offering inputs to the achievement of REDD and REDD+ goals for regular and effective monitoring of forests.

Expected Participants

20 professionals from REDD IC and relevant government agencies in Nepal are expected to join this training.

Resource persons/Facilitators


Rajesh Bahadur Thapa

Remote Sensing and Geoinformation Specialist, ICIMOD
Buddi S. Poudel

Buddi S. Poudel

Chief of REDD IC and Joint Secretary, MoFE
Shankar Adhikari

Shankar Adhikari

Forest Officer (Under Secretary), REDD IC, MoFE

Poonam Tripathi

Geospatial Training Analyst, ICIMOD

Sajana Maharajan

Remote Sensing and Geoinformation Analyst, ICIMOD

Tentative agenda

  • Day 1: 5 April 2021
    Time Topic Resource persons/Facilitators
    09:00–09:45 Opening session (S1)


    Training overview and introduction of the participants

    Welcome remarks


    Group photo


    Rajesh Shrestha, ICIMOD

    Rajesh B. Thapa, ICIMOD

    Birendra Bajracharya, Chief of Party, SERVIR-HKH, ICIMOD

    Buddi S. Poudel, Chief of REDD IC

    Rajesh Shrestha, ICIMOD

    09:45–12:30 Morning session (S2)

    Pre-training assessment (10 min)

    REDD strategy, projects, and capacity gaps in Nepal (20 min)

    QGIS setup and installation (30 min)


    Poonam Tripathi, ICIMOD

    Buddi S. Poudel

    Poonam Tripathi

    10:45–11:15 Break
    GIS concepts and applications in forest monitoring (45 min)

    Demonstration of GIS data (30 min)

    Rajesh B. Thapa

    Poonam Tripathi

    12:30–13:30 Lunch break
    13:30–17:00 Afternoon session (S3)

    Hands-on exercises

    Introduction to QGIS

    Vector/raster data exploration and visualization in QGIS

    Poonam Tripathi/Rajesh B. Thapa
    15:00–15:30 Break
    Hands-on exercises – session continued

    Working with vector/raster data, layer properties, projection, symbology, label, etc.

  • Day 2: 6 April 2021
  • Day 3: 7 April 2021
  • Day 4: 8 April 2021
  • Day 5: 9 April 2021