Ten officials from the Vietnam Administration of Forests (VNFOREST), Forest Protection Department, and Forest Inventory and Planning Institute (FIPI) visited the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) unit in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Forest Service offices in Washington, DC, during the week of April 29 to May 5.
The group was on a study tour to strengthen national forest inventory management sponsored by SilvaCarbon, a flagship program that supports the U. S. Governments strategy for fast-start financing for countries participating in the United Nations program for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and enhancing forest carbon stocks (REDD+) in developing countries.
The officials from Vietnam wanted to:
- Understand how resource management information needs are used to guide U.S. national forest inventory design, data collection, information processing, and results dissemination;
- See how data flows through forest inventory systems and multiple feedback loops that provide data quality assurances and control;
- Learn about the legislative foundations, funding mechanisms, and administrative organization of the U.S. national forest inventory; and
- Discuss how the information gathered is disseminated to stakeholders, and how value is added through those varied products and outlets.
The group met with FIA program manager Bill Burkman and his unit in Knoxville for an overview of the SRS FIA organization and to learn about the Timber Product Output (TPO) program and timber utilization studies, public data access through on-line forest inventory reporting, partnerships, and how external stakeholders use FIA data. The trip also included a visit to the University of Tennessee Arboretum in Oak Ridge for a field plot demonstration and to view plot designs. They also learned about pre-field activities, plot considerations and ownership, how data is collected, and how field and quality control is handled.
The study tour concluded in Washington, DC, with the signing of a Letter of Intent between the Forest Service and VNFOREST on cooperation of forestry issues. Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell signed the Letter of Intent with VNFOREST Deputy Director General Mr. Vo Dai Hai. Areas for cooperation include fire management, prevention, and control; REDD+ and Low Emission Development Strategies; combating illegal timber logging, wildlife hunting, and associated trade; watershed and coastal protection for ecosystem services; and capacity building at all levels for improved field operations.
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