GFW User Profile: Andrew Heald

GFW User Profile: Andrew Heald

Forestry Consultant; Technical Director, UK Confederation of Forest Industries

Heald_Andrew_260214What do you do?

I am a sustainability and forestry consultant. I’ve worked in this sector for more than 20 years, and with a range of organizations from forest product companies like UPM and Mondi to the World Wildlife Federation, the Forest Stewardship Council and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Currently I work with a trade organisation called the UK Confederation of Forest Industries. A lot of my work centers on forest certification in the UK—how to make certification simpler, more robust and risk-based, and how to incorporate remote sensing to reduce auditing costs.

How did you become interested in forests?

I have always wanted to work in the “outdoors.” Initially, I wasn’t sure whether this would be in farming or conservation. I ended up in forestry after working with a timber harvesting company as a countryside ranger looking after land around a large reservoir. They were looking for someone who understood the conservation and recreation side of land management, and I liked the idea of working for a private sector company. That was over twenty years ago!

Continue reading

Global Forest Watch News Roundup: Week of July 19-25, 2015

GFW News Roundup: Forest stories from around the world that demonstrate the power of spatial analysis and open data in improving management of forest landscapes.

This News Roundup was in collaboration with the Forest Legality Alliance

Top Reads of the Week:

Collaborative forest management approach scientific, say users,” 19 July,

At A Glance: A pilot project run to introduce collaborative forest management approach in Rupandehi has helped locals reap economic, social and environmental benefits in the past four years.

Can farmers be forest custodians in the Amazon?,” 20 July, CIFOR

At A Glance: Agricultural activity and forest conservation have often had an antagonistic relationship and are usually discussed in terms of how the former damages the latter. Forest and development policy, and indeed society itself, often separates and divides the vast ‘wilderness’ of ‘primary’ forest and the indigenous communities that live within them, from the ‘degraded’ agricultural areas inhabited by farmers. However, Amazonian landscapes cannot be so simply defined: agricultural areas often host a great deal of forest at different stages of maturity.

Industry embracing responsibly-sourced timber, says WWF report,” 21 July, Construction Manager

At A Glance: The WWF’s 2015 Timber Scorecard assessed 128 UK contractors, retailers, manufacturers and traders that buy timber and timber products on their publicly available buying policies, and performance from 2013 onwards. Each company was given a score from zero trees, meaning no apparent progress on sustainable timber and timber products, to three trees, where more than 70% certified sustainable wood has been sourced.

Continue reading

Global Forest Watch News Roundup: Week of July 12-18, 2015

GFW News Roundup: Forest stories from around the world that demonstrate the power of spatial analysis and open data in improving management of forest landscapes.

This News Roundup was in collaboration with the Forest Legality Alliance

Top Reads of the Week:

Nature Watch: Research shows how Native Americans affected forests,” 12 July, The Buffalo News

At A Glance: For Native Americans, the trees of most interest were those that provide mast (nuts and seeds) that they could use for food and that would attract game. Those are the oak, American chestnut and hickory. Having those tree species close to where they lived and traveled worked to their advantage.

Catching the ‘big fish’: How banks can stop environmental crime in Indonesia,” 13 July, CIFOR

At A Glance: “There is a pervasive problem within the forestry sector: the worst offences often involve  actors that regularly get away with them,” says Jacob Phelps, a scientist from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and one of the authors of the study.

Mega-dams doing drastic harm to tropical biodiversity: study,” 13 July, Mongabay

At A Glance: Researchers say the full extent of impacts to biodiversity of large hydroelectric dams in lowland tropical forest regions have been ‘severely overlooked.’ Mega-dams are being proposed the world over as sustainable development projects, even though there have been plenty of studies calling attention to the fact that the emissions savings from hydroelectric dams are drastically overstated.

To sustain its forests, Asia needs to invest in local people: experts,” 14 July, Reuters

At A Glance: Asia has a unique opportunity to fight climate change and lift many more people out of poverty if it invests more in the communities living in its forests, experts said. More than 450 million people in the region rely on forests for income and food, but forest dwellers often struggle to make a living as rural poverty, deforestation and climate change threaten their livelihoods.

Continue reading

UPDATE: New Satellite Imagery Captures Fires and Extensive Forest Loss Within Tesso Nilo National Park

By Susan Minnemeyer and Octavia Payne

Newly acquired Digital Globe satellite imagery captures the full extent of Tesso Nilo National Park during the recent fire outbreak from late May to mid-July 2015. Recent rainfall has greatly reduced the extent of the fires, but three hotspots were still visible as of today.

Explore in detail on Global Forest Watch Fires.

The fires indicate that illegal encroachment into the area continues, and to date, more than 47,000 hectares have been converted for oil palm and other agricultural production, despite Tesso Nilo’s national park status. The extent of conversion of the forest inside Tesso Nilo is readily apparent from the imagery captured this week—only one large area of undisturbed forest remains, in the southeast section of the park.

Fires do not occur naturally within Indonesia’s forests. Rather, nearly all are set by people, using fire as a cheaper means of clearing forest land than mechanical equipment. Such fires are illegal in Indonesia, except when used by smallholders to clear less than 2 hectares of land.

Regularly updated ultra-high resolution imagery makes the extent of fire damage inside the park undeniable.


WV02_5CNew ultra-high resolution imagery over Tesso Nilo National Park. Images were captured by Digital Globe’s WorldView-2 satellite on July 9, 2015.

Visit the GFW Fires website to explore Tesso Nilo National Park in detail.

Click on the “sign up for alerts” button in the upper right corner of the map to continue following this issue and receive email or SMS notifications of fire alerts in Tesso Nilo.


BANNER PHOTO: New ultra-high resolution imagery over Tesso Nilo National Park captured by Digital Globe’s WorldView-2 satellite on July 9, 2015.

Round Table on Responsible Soy and WRI will work together to help safeguard forests

By Agustín Mascotena, Executive Director of RTRS and Ryan Sarsfield, Latin America Commodities Manager, Global Forest Watch, WRI

Soy is one of the most widely-consumed crops in the world, ubiquitous in processed foods, animal feed, and even some biofuels. Cultivation of this high-protein bean now stretches over one million square kilometres worldwide, an area about the size of France, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands combined, and some expansion of soy has resulted in the clearing and conversion of natural forests, savannahs, grasslands, and wetlands, especially in the Americas.

Fortunately, there are tools available to channel soy expansion to land that can be agriculturally and economically productive while minimizing impacts on the environment. As soy cultivation continues to expand (the FAO predicts it will almost double by 2050), these emerging tools can help empower companies to meet and raise the bar for sustainability commitments.

A new partnership between the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) may help make this possible. The RTRS promotes responsible production, processing, and trading of soy on a global level. Its members include the main representatives of the soy value chain and members of civil society from around the world. The RTRS has pioneered a certification scheme that helps ensure soy production is “environmentally correct, socially appropriate and economically feasible” and prohibits the conversion of natural ecosystems like forests. WRI leads the development of Global Forest Watch, an interactive online forest monitoring and alert system, and Global Forest Watch Commodities, which analyzes the impact on forests of key commodities such as soy, palm oil, timber, and beef. Continue reading