In international cooperation projects, all learn from each other. A fact that proved true in a three-year project between Finnish and Kenyan forest researchers.
The project, Improving Capacity in Forest Resources Assessment in Kenya (IC-FRA), aimed at improving the Kenya Forest Research Institute’s capacity and system for monitoring forest resources. The project team faced many challenges, but the work paid off, and the results were rewarding.
“We managed to help to prepare a technical plan for a nationwide forest inventory. The project improved the Kenyan institutions’ understanding on what it takes to produce up-to-date and reliable information on forests”, says Project Coordinator, Researcher Helena Haakana, Luke.
Mbae N. Muchiri from the Kenya Forestry Research Institute is happy with the outcome.
“We were all theoretically and practically trained on planning, implementing and reporting a National Forest Inventory”, Muchiri says.
“The project improved my colleagues’ forest resource assessment capabilities and that of mine very greatly. Thanks to advanced training our team of experts can now plan, undertake and report a National Forest Inventory with minimal assistance.”
As a result of this three-year cooperation, Kenya now has a complete proposal on how to conduct a nationwide forest resources assessment. However, Muchiri believes the research project was helpful also to Luke’s experts and taught them a thing or two about different resources and conditions.
“There are some difficulties in assessing forest resources in the tropics in terms of, for example, difficult rain conditions and several different tree species. The Finnish researchers realized the difficulties of working with limited local resources, and were able to adapt to them.”
The learnings from challenging conditions will most likely prove useful in the future. Most countries across the globe want to fight climate change and the interest in forest inventory has spread. Finland has a lot to offer as we keep on fighting the planet’s biggest fight yet.