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National forest inventory efforts in Honduras benefit neighboring countries

Andy Lister, USDA Forest Service forest service and inventory analysis specialist, demonstrates the use of a bulk density hammer to collect soil samples for Honduran, Guatemalan, and Costa Rican Forest Inventory specialists. Photo courtesy of Carla Ramirez, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

HONDURAS – USDA Forest Service International Programs office recently organized a workshop in Honduras focused on providing technical assistance on national forest inventory for over 25 participants from Guatemala, Costa Rica and Honduras. From the Forest Service, Andy Lister, research forester from the Northern Research Station’s Forest Inventory and Analysis unit, acted as the main USDA Forest Service technical support specialist for the workshop.

The workshop consisted of one day of presentations, a day in the field to visit a Honduran national forest inventory plot in a mangrove forest, and a day to visit a plot in a dry oak forest. During the first day, Andy presented on the benefits of institutionalizing national forest inventories based on his experience in other countries and with FIA. Each participating country also shared its own experiences with their national forest inventory, including challenges and future plans. During the first field visit, experts from Honduras led an activity that demonstrated the use of the mobile module of Silva Metricus, a forest inventory data collection, processing, and estimate production system developed in part with USDA Forest Service support. On the third day, representatives from Honduras and the USDA Forest Service demonstrated their national forest inventory plot protocol and soil collection techniques at the dry site.

With USDA Forest Service technical support, Honduras has improved its forest inventory over the past several years. Now in its third cycle, the Honduran national forest inventory can measure change over time. Honduras has also started using digital data recorders to capture field data, reduce error and strengthen its analysis capabilities. Finally, Honduras has undergone a tremendous effort to institutionalize its inventory to allow the inventory to continue to exist and function, even with changes in government leadership.

This program was funded by SilvaCarbon, a U.S. government interagency initiative funded by USAID and the U.S. Department of State that leverages the expertise of the USDA Forest Service, USGS and other technical agencies.

Honduran, Guatemalan and Costa Rican Forest Inventory specialists establish a forest floor collection plot in a mangrove forest. USDA Forest Service photo by Andrew Lister.

Honduran, Guatemalan, and Costa Rican Forest Inventory specialists use mobile data collection software Silva Metricus, which was developed in part with USDA Forest Service technical support. USDA Forest Service photo by Andrew Lister.