Here at the League, we keep a close eye on the redwood forests. We monitor changes in ownership, regulations, practices, natural disturbances and more to understand the state of the redwoods. But, how can we tell how forests worldwide are faring?
A new tool created by a partnership that includes Google and the UN Environmental Program, and convened by the World Resources Institute, can help. Global Forest Watch (GFW) is a mapping and data-sharing project whose goal is to “empower people everywhere to better manage forests.”
By incorporating data and many scales, and across multiple geographies, GFW can provide a current snapshot of the state of global forests, and track it over time. The free online mapping tool allows users to display changes in forest cover, forest use, protections, and critical areas for biodiversity conservation.
In the redwood region, we can see tree cover gain and loss since the year 2000. Pink areas of forest loss due to harvest, fire, or conversion are offset by blue patches showing forest gain from replanting or natural regeneration. It is a comfort to see that there is more blue than pink! Other areas of the world – the tropical rainforests of South America, Africa, and southeast Asia in particular – show large areas of deforestation.
Check it out! Go to globalforestwatch.org and see how your favorite forests have fared. Let us know what you think of this conservation tech tool in the comments section below.