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Land cover mapping leads Nepal’s climate action strategy through data innovation

Nepal’s National Land Cover Monitoring System (NLCMS) represents a pivotal achievement and is poised to […]
Published: 08 Feb, 2024
⏲ 2 minutes Read

Nepal’s National Land Cover Monitoring System (NLCMS) represents a pivotal achievement and is poised to significantly fulfil the country’s data requirements. This system holds immense importance for assessing and overseeing the ever-changing landscape, which is crucial for the sustainable stewardship of Nepal’s natural resources.

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SERVIR-HKH has been continuously collaborating with Nepal’s Forest Research and Training Centre (FRTC), the nationally mandated agency for forest cover data, to develop an operational NLCMS of Nepal.

NLCMS utilises publicly available satellite imagery, e.g., Landsat, and robust methodologies to regularly generate annual land cover data for the entire country. FRTC uses the land cover maps for national and international reporting on forest cover change, preparing a long-term strategy for achieving Nepal’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) targets and as a foundational dataset for evidence-based planning and policy development.

NLCMS addresses the challenges of long-term data gaps by providing consistent geospatial data crucial for various sectors such as forestry, climate action, and research. NLCMS data played a pivotal role in setting climate targets for Nepal’s commitments to the Paris Agreement and is being extensively used in forest degradation mapping, climate change action, and academic research. Bimal Kumar Acharya, Senior Remote Sensing Officer from FRTC states, “The NLCMS results are far more useful in the planning and policy-making processes of Nepal's federal, provincial, and local governments. It is also useful for reporting on Nepal’s national and international obligations. The resulting maps and data are used to further process the other relevant programmes.”

NLCMS land cover data has become the national data, helping understand the different land cover of the country. The Government of Nepal, through FRTC, has adopted this system, establishing it as a credible and authentic data source for governmental purposes. The National Statistics Office (NSO) uses this map for land cover statistics while international reporting, such as the Second NDC, was developed based on this data. Our land cover map, precisely forest cover extent, is used for emission estimation from forests. This is required for carbon accounting from forests to reach net zero emissions.

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Digital Communications and Outreach Officer, ICIMOD

Remote Sensing and GeoInformation Analyst – SERVIR, ICIMOD


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