Harnessing the Power of Global Forest Watch for Data-Driven Reporting on Land Cover Change

By Morgan Erickson-Davis
The Society of Environmental Journalists
May 8, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

In 2013, if you wanted to include forest loss numbers in your reporting, your options were limited to annual reports that used oft-dubious data self-reported by governments and the occasional peer-reviewed unicorn. Regardless of source, this data was a year old at best. But in 2014 the fog began to lift when the World Resources Institute released Global Forest Watch, an interactive, free-to-use online platform that visualizes and analyzes land cover change datasets around the world. Debuting with its flagship tree cover loss dataset and a smattering of context layers, the platform has blossomed into a comprehensive portal that connects the public to more than four dozen global, national and regional datasets. As an editor who specializes in data-driven coverage of land cover change, I’ve been using Global Forest Watch in my work at Mongabay since its debut 10 years ago.

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