Establishment of a Prototype of a Regional Forest Observatory in continental southeast Asia (RFO-SEA)
The Regional Forest Observatory for South-East Asia (RFO-SEA) is a platform to share knowledge on the regional status of forests and REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation to combat climate change). The database and the website were initially hosted at the Vietnamese Academy of Forest Sciences (VAFS) in Hanoi serving five countries: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. The RFO-SEA acts as a repository for maps, statistics, GIS layers, reports, and scientific papers stored in a database and accessible through a user-friendly website. The RFO-SEA’s data and information are populated by government agencies, multilateral institutions, NGOs, projects and research institutes through the voluntary sharing of datasets and other information. As such, it is a collaborative effort to impart knowledge and promote transparency for a wide range of stakeholders. In return, stakeholders with an interest in forestry and REDD+ will benefit from the RFO-SEA through access to a wide range of resources that, among others, can help to:
i. Understand local, national and regional land-use change dynamics;
ii. Provide an avenue for sharing official datasets;
iii. Facilitate dialogue between partners regarding forest and lands use policies and sustainable natural resources management);
iv. Support coordination between projects; and
v. Improve access to technical knowledge resources.
The project also conducted capacity building of staff of the Vietnamese Academy of Forest Sciences in database development and hosting the platform and the related website (www.rfo-sea.org, under development).