The United Nations Collaborative Programme
on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation
and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries

National Forest Monitoring Systems for REDD+ and Forest
Reference Emission Levels/Forest Reference Levels

Monitoring and measurement, reporting and verification

In order to avoid, reduce and capture forest carbon emissions, any country planning to carry out REDD+ activities effectively must have monitoring systems that provide accurate data on emissions. Monitoring, and measurement, reporting and verification (M&MRV) for REDD+ is a way of addressing a country’s commitments to collecting and sharing this information.

Countries planning to carry out REDD+ are also requested to develop national forest monitoring systems (NFMS), as agreed in Cancun in 2010 at the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC-COP16).

It was recognized that NFMS can both monitor REDD+ activities as well as play an MRV role in their implementation. Indeed, NFMSs play an essential role in how information for national REDD+ programmes is managed.

M&MRV is one of the largest areas of work of the UN-REDD Programme. Technical and institutional capacity building are keys to developing strong nationally owned forest monitoring systems.

The UN-REDD Programme, through its collaborating UN agency FAO, provides technical support to countries, particularly in the development of credible and cost-effective NFMSs. Countries are also assisted to develop their forest reference emissions levels/forest reference levels (FREL/FRL). According to the UNFCCC, these benchmarks must be established in order to assess a country’s performance in carrying out REDD+ activities.

Forest reference emission levels and/or forest reference levels

One of the elements countries need to develop to participate in REDD+ is a FREL/FRL. The UNFCCC has defined FREL/FRLs as benchmarks for assessing each country’s performance in implementing REDD+ activities and mitigating climate change through actions related to their forests.

To date, the UNFCCC-COP has agreed on four decisions related to FREL/FRLs for REDD+, providing guidance for developing countries on 1) modalities for FREL/FRLs, including guidelines for submission of information; and 2) on the technical assessment of FREL/FRL submissions.

More information on technical guidelines related to National Forest Monitoring Systems for REDD+ and Forest Reference Emission Levels/Forest Reference Levels, visit the UN-REDD Programme Online Collaborative Workspace.


Zambia: Forest surveys provide baseline data for participation in REDD+

March 2014

Having baseline data on communities’ quality-of-life provides a more complete understanding of the benefits that forests bring – such as medicine and fuel, and supporting cultural traditions – which often do not show up in GDP. ILUA II also includes issues of tenure and user-rights, which need to be monitored over time to ensure they are protected.
 Read full article…

GlobAllomeTree, a New Web Platform to Improve Assessment of Forest Biomass and Carbon Stocks

June/July 2013

A novel platform to support UN-REDD pilot countries in improving the accuracy of forest carbon and carbon stock change assessments.
Read full article…

UN-REDD Supports South-South Exchange on Forest Monitoring Systems

July 2012

UNEP's South-South Cooperation Exchange Mechanism recently published a case study on a successful training exchange between Brazil's Institute for Space Research and several UN-REDD Programme partner countries. Read full article…

Committee on World Food Security Launches Groundbreaking Guidelines on Land Tenure

These internationally-negotiated guidelines, with contributions from the UN-REDD Programme, will help governments safeguard the rights of people to own or access land, forests and fisheries. Read full article…

Initial results from the FAO-JRC Global Forest Remote Sensing Survey 

December 2011

The initial results of the Global Forest Remote Sensing Survey were recently released at COP17 in Durban, South Africa. New estimates of the area in forest land-use and change rates (deforestation and afforestation) have been calculated at global, region (continent) and ecological zone scales for 1990, 2000 and to 2005. Read more...

Click here to download the eight-page initial summary results from the survey.

Linking Community Monitoring with National MRV for REDD+

UN-REDD Programme partner countries recently participated in a cross-regional workshop to explore how community-level monitoring can help strengthen National REDD+ Programmes. Read full article...

UN-REDD and INPE Team Up to Train Experts on Satellite Forest Monitoring

The UN-REDD Programme team at FAO and Brazil's Space Agency (INPE) join forces to run a two-week intensive training programme on the use and possible application of remote sensing data for forest monitoring.
By: Inge Jonckheere, UN-REDD-FAO Forestry officer
Read full article...

UN-REDD-FAO Releases Report from Training Workshop on National Systems for Greenhouse Gas Inventories

Download the proceedings of the training workshop, which took place earlier this year at FAO Headquarters in Rome, as part of the UN-REDD Programme's support to countries in the area of greenhouse gas inventories. Read full article...

MRV Leaflets for Tanzania and Zambia

Informational leaflets on MRV for REDD+ in Tanzania and Zambia are now available. There are leaflets on the "ABC of MRV" (for Tanzania and Zambia) as well as on" Key issues in MRV for REDD+" (for Tanzania and Zambia).

Advancing on MRV for REDD+ in Mexico

Rosa María Román from the UN-REDD Programme provides an update on the project “Reinforcing REDD+ Readiness in Mexico and enabling South-South cooperation"-- the main outcome of the cooperation between Norway and Mexico aimed at strengthening the country’s MRV system and sharing experiences on REDD+ in the region. Read full article ...

UN-REDD - INPE Training on National Forest Monitoring Systems

The UN-REDD Programme and Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) collaborate to help interested REDD+ countries set up their own national satellite forest monitoring systems. Read full article ...

MRV Training for REDD+ Remote Sensing Tools in Tanzania

The UN-REDD Programme in Tanzania has created a national Measuring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system as its central task and is now in the process of implementing a series of training sessions throughout the country. Read full article ...

MRV and Monitoring for REDD+ Implementation

Peter Holmgren, Director of Climate, Energy and Tenure Division and UN-REDD Programme Coordinator at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), explains the challenges ahead and key steps when it comes to setting-up a national monitoring system for REDD+. Read full article ...

Joint UN-REDD and GEO MRV Workshop

The UN-REDD Programme along with the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) held its first joint workshop entitled “Measurement, reporting and verification, a roadmap for implementation at the country level” from 22 to 24 June 2010 in Guadalajara, Mexico, with the support of the Mexican Forestry Commission (Comisión Nacional Forestal – CONAFOR). Read full article ...

Carbon Stock Assessment and Modelling in Zambia: a UN-REDD Programme study

Results of a UN-REDD Programme study are now available as part of the ongoing activities in Zambia to establish reliable carbon assessment methodologies. Read full article ...

UN-REDD countries meet to share experiences on measuring, reporting and verification systems for REDD

A measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) meeting held in FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, from 10-11 September 2009, brought together representatives from nine UN-REDD countries and three UN agencies. Read full article ...

Measurement Reporting and Verification meeting with UN-REDD countries

Download the meeting report here.

Monitoring for REDD

Learning to measure carbon emissions. Read full article ...

Global remote sensing images available free of charge



Proceedings of the regional technical workshop on Tree Volume and Biomass Allometric Equations in West Africa

Proceedings from the Second Regional Workshop on Data Analysis for Tree Volume, Biomass and Carbon Stock Assessment

Inventory of Tree Biomass and Volume Allometric Equations in Southeast Asia

Emerging approaches to Forest Reference Emission Levels and/or Forest Reference Levels for REDD+
(December 2013)

Inventory of Allometric Equations for Estimation of Above-ground tree biomass and volume in the Pacific
(December 2013)

Inventory of allometric equations for estimating tree biomass: a database for China
(September 2014)

Proceedings of the regional technical workshop on Tree Volume and Biomass Allometric Equations in South Asia
(December 2014)

From tree measurement to National Forest Monitoring Systems: The use of allometric equations to estimate forest resources 
(June 2014)

Inventory of volume and biomass tree allometric equations for South Asia 
(January 2014)

Georeferenced database of tree volume and biomass allometric equations for North America  
(July 2013)

Inventory of Volume and Biomass Tree Allometric Equations for Central and South America 
(March 2013)

Proceedings of the regional technical workshop on Tree Volume and Biomass Allometric Equations in South and Central America  
(May 2013)

Assessment of forest inventory approaches for REDD+ - Expert Meeting Report  
(June 2011)

National Forest Monitoring Systems: Monitoring and Measurement, Reporting and Verification (M & MRV) in the context of REDD+ Activities 
English - Español - Français
(May 2011)

Proceedings of the training workshop on the National System for Greenhouse Gas Inventory in the context of REDD+ 
(Rome, 25-28 January 2011)

MRV for REDD+ Basic Concepts 

MRV for REDD+ Basic Concepts 

Measurement, Reporting and Verification for REDD+

Measurement, Reporting and Verification for REDD+

Framework for Action 2009-2014 on Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV)

Role of Satellite Remote Sensing in REDD
by Peter Holmgren

Review of literature on Monitoring to Support REDD
by Claudia Hiepe and Hideki Kanamaru

Measurement and Reporting of Forest Carbon in Guyana: Preparing for REDD Implementation
by Jonas Cedergren

Related Links

Manual for building tree volume and biomass allometric equations

Global Forest Resource Assessment (FRA)

FRA Remote Sensing Portal

FAO National Forest Monitoring and Assessment

Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE)

Group on Earth Observation (GEO)


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Google Earth Engine

U.S. Geological Survey

UNEP’s World Conservation and Monitoring Centre