Inspired Technicians Tackle National Forest Inventory Data Analysis in Kinshasa

In October, 2018, the U.S. Forest Service International Programs, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, held a four-day training in probability and statistics. This workshop was supported by the SilvaCarbon program, an interagency technical cooperation program of the U.S. Government which aims to strengthen in-county capacity to measure, monitor and report on terrestrial carbon. The training was for Forest Inventory Technicians in the Department of Forest Inventory and Zoning in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country which is estimated to contain about 8 percent of global carbon forest stocks.

Participants gather for a photo to celebrate the completion of the four-day training. Photo by Alyssa Dongo, U.S. Forest Service International Programs.

This training focused on building these technicians’ capacity to analyze their recently acquired national forest inventory data. Participants were introduced to methods of estimating forest area, tree density, aboveground biomass, and biodiversity. Given the enormous importance of the Central African Congo Basin, these skills are of much interest to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the global community as a whole.

As the training drew to a close, participant Asante Fadhili Fat-Ray expressed his appreciation to trainer KaDonna Randolph. Forgoing the translator to practice his English, Asante exclaimed, “I think statistics are interesting!” Typically, students studying forestry and natural resources merely endure their statistics classes, and rarely do they ever enjoy them. Needless to say, KaDonna and her fellow trainer Jim Alegria were pleased with Asante’s enthusiasm.

Forestry Inventory Technicians from the Department of Forest Inventory and Zoning learn about carbon-rich peatlands during a training in January 2018. The U.S. Forest Service International Programs is committed helping government technicians have access to relevant and high-level carbon accounting trainings. Photo courtesy of Eva McNamara, U.S. Forest Service International Programs.

As the Department of Forest Inventory and Zoning completes its multi-resource national forest inventory, expectations are high for forthcoming reports. While one week of training is only the beginning, the eagerness of Asante and his colleagues to increase their knowledge for statistical analysis and reporting is encouraging, inspiring, and a great hope for the future of Central African forests.

Asante Fadhili Fat-Ray (center) proudly displays his certificate documenting completion of the workshop. Photo courtesy of Olivia Freeman, U.S. Forest Service International Programs.

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