Experts who attended an international workshop held at the Kerala Forest Research Institute here said that South Asian countries should assign a high priority to undertaking and updating forest inventories.

The workshop on “Tree volume and biomass allometric equations in South Asia” concluded on Thursday.

Forest inventories are crucial for assessing the current status of trees, woodlands and forests in a country, and providing a benchmark for monitoring the performance of various policies. The inventories will reveal what the area of existing woodland is, the nature and condition of the woodland and whether it is improving or declining.

Information gathered for an inventory will help calculate the number of trees per acre, the basal area, the volume of trees and the value of the timber.

The inventories are useful to those involved in land and forest management and planning, policy development and business. They help the forestry and timber industries update their information about timber, people involved with wildlife and nature conservation, and planners. The information is useful for management of pests and diseases that affect forests and wildlife.

Information fed into the inventories is gathered through methods such as aerial photography, ground surveys, and collection of other datasets, including remote sensing imagery and private information about woodland.

Addressing the valedictory function, Matieu Henry, Forestry Officer, Food and Agricultural Organisation, Rome, said the FAO would support a regional network for carbon stock assessment for South Asian countries.

P.S. Easa, Director, KFRI, said that his institution would constitute an academic group to devise strategies for long-term studies in the subject.

The workshop called for capacity building for networking and increased data sharing and financial support for carbon stock assessment.

The KFRI claimed that the database it compiled on carbon stock assessment won the appreciation of participants in the workshop from abroad.