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Global Forest Watch System Launched

Global Forest Watch: Forest Monitoring System Launch

Global Forest Watch, a system for near-real time forest monitoring has been launched worldwide.

The World Resources Institute (WRI), Google and a group of more than 40 partners have launched the innovative system, which provides timely information about the world’s forests, and aims to reduce deforestation. The system uses a combination of the latest satellite technology, and Google’s cloud computing to provide the service. The system is free to use and open to anyone with an internet connection.

Features of the system include:

  • High-resolution: Annual tree cover loss and gain data for the entire globe at a resolution of 30 meters, available for analysis and download.
  • Near-real time: Monthly tree cover loss data for the humid tropics at a resolution of 500 meters.
  • Speed: Cloud computing, provided by Google, multiplying the speed at which data can be analyzed.
  • The crowd: GFW unites high resolution information from satellites with the power of crowdsourcing.
  • Free and easy to use: GFW is free to all and no technical expertise is needed.
  • Alerts: When forest loss alerts are detected, a network of partners and citizens around the world can mobilize to take action.
  • Analytical Tools: Layers showing boundaries of protected areas worldwide; logging, mining, palm oil and other concessions; daily forest fire alerts from NASA; agricultural commodities; and intact forest landscapes and biodiversity hotspots.

Fundamentel Changes to Forest Management

Dr Andrews Steer, WRI President and CEO said: “Businesses, governments and communities desperately want better information about forests. Now, they have it. Global Forest Watch is a near-real time monitoring platform that will fundamentally change the way people and businesses manage forests.”

It is expected that the system will be used to evaluate investments in forestry, better monitor compliance with laws in relation to palm oil, soy and timber production, particularly in relation to monitoring deforestation.

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