What is Global Forest Watch?
Global Forest Watch (GFW) is a dynamic online forest monitoring and alert system that empowers people everywhere to better manage forests. For the first time, Global Forest Watch unites satellite technology, open data, and crowdsourcing to guarantee access to timely and reliable information about forests. GFW adheres to an open source and open data policy, providing access to data that are free for everyone. GFW is intended for use by governments, companies, NGOs, researchers, communities, and others seeking to better manage forests and improve local livelihoods.
Who can use it?
GFW aims to radically improve the availability, quality, and accessibility of forest data for everyone:
- Governments can use GFW to detect illegal forest clearing and target forest law enforcement efforts.
- Companies can monitor the impacts of commodity supply chains on forests and demonstrate compliance with sustainability commitments and certifications.
- NGOs can identify deforestation hotspots and bolster their investigations, advocacy, and campaigns.
- Indigenous communities can monitor their territories and raise an alarm when their customary forests are threatened.
- Media can gather evidence, data, and graphics for reporting.
- Researchers can analyze forest trends on a local or global scale and better understand the causes of forest change.
- Concerned citizens everywhere can learn more about the state of forests and participate in forest monitoring. Students and educators can learn more about forests at local and global scales.
GFW also brings together a dynamic community of partners with expertise in forest science, conservation, supply chain management, web development, citizen science, community outreach, and in-depth knowledge of priority forests around the world.
Who is behind Global Forest Watch?
GFW is supported by a diversity of partners that contribute data, technical capabilities, funding, and expertise. The partnership is convened by the World Resources Institute. Visit the GFW About page for a full list of partners.
Interested in joining the GFW partnership? Email us here.
Why do forests matter?
Human society and the global economy are inextricably linked to forests. More than 1 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods. Forest ecosystems also play a critical role in stabilizing the climate; providing food, water, wood products, and vital medicines; and supporting much of the world’s biodiversity.
Despite recent efforts to combat harmful deforestation in some regions, forest ecosystems are still under threat. According to WRI research, 30% of potential global forest cover has been cleared, while another 20% has been degraded. Most remaining forests have been fragmented, leaving only about 15% of original forest cover intact.
Balancing the demand for natural resources with the need to preserve vital ecosystems requires robust data to help resource managers make good decisions. GFW can help by providing this information at a global scale.
How do I use Global Forest Watch?
Please scroll up to the page above for a video tutorial and a full overview of GFW’s functionalities.
How can I participate?
You can promote sustainable forest management and improve forest transparency by contributing to GFW in the following ways:
- Submit a story about forest change.
- Contribute or share data through GFW. Please send an email here.
- Suggest improvements by filling out our User Survey.
- Use Global Forest Watch and let us know how it has helped you by filling out our User Survey.
- Contribute open source code by submitting a pull request to our website repository or API repository on GitHub.
- (Coming soon) Validate data by participating in citizen science. GFW will invite users to help classify satellite images and strengthen global forest change data sets.
What updates are coming down the road for GFW?
You asked, and we listened. Here is how we are addressing user feedback to improve GFW.
- Additional “Forest Use” and “People” data sets, including concession boundaries, community land claims, and tenure rights
- Additional local data, including projects, resources, and important places to watch
- A plantations map for tropical regions
- A new homepage that allows users to more easily access relevant GFW features and data
- An expanded analysis and subscription tool that enables on-the-fly analysis of additional data layers and subscription to stories and other forest change data layers
- Updated country pages that include additional climate, carbon, and forest data
- A new portal that allows users to easily navigate, search, and download all GFW data
- Better language translation and low-bandwith capabilities
- Updated carbon density maps and estimates of emissions for forest loss and land-use change
- Mobile optimization for the GFW site
- A citizen-science platform for comparing and classifying satellite imagery of forests as well as an additional crowd-sourcing tool allowing direct upload of georeferenced information and photos from the field
- And much more...