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GlobalForestWatch.org: Real-time Watch on Forest Around Globe

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2.9 out of 5
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Find out what is happening in forests on computer screen. It’s little unbelievable…but GlobalForestWatch.org, dynamic online forest monitoring and alert system, makes it possible by allowing everyone to track deforestation worldwide.

Forest are vital for the survival of life upon earth, because our lands will become desert and unable of sustaining life without them. Trees are the forest’s interface between the land we stand upon and atmosphere we breathe. Trees provide life’s two main essentials – oxygen and food. As we evolved, they furnished additional necessities like shelter, medicine and tools. Unfortunately, the world’s forests are being destroyed speedily today…the world lost more than 230 million hectares of forest between 2000 and 2012. It’s really very bad thing for people because global warming is increasing with the blink of eye and trees are one of the main sources that can reduce and stop it….but people do not understand it and cut down trees for constructing building and for other purpose. Stopping and reversing deforestation is really important. Until now, there has been no good way to keep track of this fast forest loss, so that government, organizations, companies and communities in forest department had to struggle for providing real-time solutions. A very big thanks to Google, environmentalists and governments, which has launched “near real-time” forest monitoring system – Global Forest Watch, to track deforestation worldwide.

Man watches on Forest Around Globe

Global Forest Watch is a new interactive, real-time, forest-monitoring system that has been developed by Google, World Resources Institute(WRI), group of 40 businesses and NGOs. It uses satellite technology, data sharing and crowd sourcing to provide real-time, reliable and actionable data information to assist governments, companies and communicates to manage forests and prevent deforestation in better way. For achieving sustainable forest management, governments and communities require up to date, reliable and easily accessible data and information to track, review and effective interference; Global Forest Watch is really good system to take evidence-based, informed decision in progressing sustainable forest management. This new system allows worldwide people to monitor deforestation in real-time. It will definitely change the way people and businesses manage forest and save earth from global warming.

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The world resources institutes have used technologies from Google Maps and Google Earth to create interactive map that shows forest coverage almost in real-time. This new web-based and forest monitoring and alert system shows tree losses all over the world in high resolution and with regular updates. No limits…anyone can explore it from any corner of the world. It displays using data from various sources like NASA to analyze forest coverage and making it available for everyone with an internet connection. This website is powered by Google with real time info-graphs and satellite data. It is also capable to highlight what different forests are being used for and where lands have been protected.

This tool shows where the forests are disappearing and where they are growing back to give full-coverage on environmental concerns of the world. Fires, clear-cutting fro agriculture, unsustainable logging for timber, ranching, development and deterioration due to climate change are type of deforestation. With this new innovation, you can get complete details about it in very clear form.

GlobalForestWatch.org is beneficial for financial institutions, purchasers, media, researchers and suppliers. It supports indigenous communities, who are able to add photos and alert when interference takes place on their lands. Moreover, NGOs can resolve deforestation hotspots, take action and gather proof to hold government and companies responsible for their actions. Government can also use GFW website to create more effective policies, identify illegal forest clearing, supports forest laws, and meet conservation and climate goals.

Information will be little or of no use if it is not processed in a proper manner; but in Global Forest Watch, everything is structured in well-manner. GFW is a free source to get details of deforestation. Nothing is harder to use this online service…everything is very neat and clean. First, you have to select the language to display the site in your required language.

It gives two options to access forest data on the website including map and countries…hit Map tab to get data from the map. As soon as you open the map, you will get many extra tabs on top side including Forest change, forest cover, forest use, conservation, people and stories. You can change the map data for using any option from the list.

In forest change data, it incorporates global forest change data from the University of Maryland, near real-time FORMA alerts for the humid tropics, quarterly vegetation change data from NASA, SAD alerts for the Brazilian Amazon from Imazon, and others. By selecting appropriate option, you can choose what data you want to layer on to the map like cover, new forests, depletion rates, conserved forests and so on. It makes map extremely insightful and user friendly.

From the forest cover data, you can display tree cover extent, intact forest landscapes and pan tropical carbon density on the map. Forest use data contains contextual information like concession areas for natural resource extraction or agricultural production. Using it, you can show logging, mining, oil palm, and wood fiber plantations information. You can select the option in conservation tab to see which forest areas are protected and which are hotspots? Here, you can also read user submitted stories about forest and deforestation.

Advanced search engine option is also given on the map for searching specific details. Viewers can change the view of map in grayscale, terrain, satellite, roads, tree height or Landset.

Not all people explore accurate forest detail of their country easily on worldwide map…in order that developers has added countries option in to Global Forest Watch to access country wise forest detail. For it, you have to just select your country map from the list.

As and when you reach at the country page, you will be able to download forma alerts, UMD tree cover, and analyze your country on map too. You can also grab the detail like state of the forest, people & economy, tenure & laws, climate change and conventions. It also gives ability to subscribe for getting alert for your country. In addition, users can access specific country stories.

One of the best points about the site is that it gives ability to join the community of global forest watch to learn more about data and interact with fellow users and researchers. You can change the forest cover analyses on the fly and get answer in real time. Registering in the site, you can get alert to forest cover change in your area of interest.

Here, you can also promote sustainable forest management and improve forest transparency by sharing stores of forest change. You can submit story on how forest are being managed, cleared, or protected in your area by sharing video, image, text and web links that showing. You don’t need to register in the site for sharing your story on website. As soon as you submit the story, it will be displayed immediately as a layer on the GFW map.

Features of Global Forest Watch:

  • On-the-fly analysis for sub-national administrative areas, concession areas, and protected areas (applicable to all “forest change” data sets)
  • Additional “Forest Use” data sets, including concession boundaries for additional countries and commodities
  • Community land claims and tenure rights under the “People” tab
  • A “plantation forests map” for the tropical regions
  • An updated version of the “Intact Forests Landscapes” layer
  • 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 geo referenced information and photos from the field
  • A specialized portal for corporate users
  • Share stories on GFW
  • Connect with community to learn more about data

Image source: wri.org

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