Future prospects for national forest inventories in Latin America and the Caribbean
The purpose of this chapter is to summarize the future prospects for National Forest Inventories (NFIs) in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC): the continuous monitoring of forests, the analysis of the main methodological similarities, differences and challenges presented by the countries of the region on the subject. It is considered important to know the trends and plans that NFI officials have for their future development, as well as the concrete actions that can be employed to resolve the challenges they face.
The results and conclusions presented in this chapter are drawn both from the analysis of the reflections in the "future prospects" section of the 21 national chapters in Part II of this book, as well as from a specific questionnaire designed to standardize the criteria for analysis. The questionnaire covered elements of data collection, information management and institutional aspects, and was completed by 20 countries.
The status, characteristics and contexts of NFIs in LAC are very diverse and their analysis requires an understanding of the short- and long-term objectives and goals of each country. As described in the national chapters, there are countries that have not yet completed the first measurement cycle (that is, with the complete installation of sampling units), while others have already begun the second or third cycle of forest monitoring. There is also a great diversity of variables sampled and ways of collecting information in the field that enrich the analysis. Continuity in forest monitoring is a priority for most countries in the region, and the institutional or external funding to support this work, as well as the availability and retention of trained human resources, are some of the challenges to meeting this objective.
National forest inventories produce relevant information for the management, planning and establishment of forest policies aimed at conservation and/or sustainable resource management, through the integration of urban and rural communities and society as a whole. Moreover, data obtained from the inventories provide information for the preparation of national and international studies and reports, among other aspects highlighted by the countries included in this publication.