In this update, GFW publishes a roundup of top forest news from around the world. Many of these stories demonstrate the power of spatial analysis in monitoring and analyzing deforestation.

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Top Reads of the Week:

  • IPCC Report: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their fifth assessment of climate change, featuring a key finding related to forests. The group reported that deforestation and land use changes have released one third of total anthropogenic emissions since 1750. Visit the IPCC site to download the report.
  • Habitat Fragmentation and Extinctions: An article published in the journal Science this week found that reducing forests to isolated patches threatens to wipe out mammals at a faster rate than previously imagined. The team of conservation biologists described their findings as “an ecological Armageddon” (BBC).
  • Business Risk and Land Rights: A new report titled “Global Capital, Local Concessions” utilized geospatial data to assess where land claims and industrial concessions overlap in emerging economies. The investigation found that 31% of concession areas overlap with local land rights.
  • Video Captures Gold Mining in Peru: A YouTube video featuring aerial footage of illegal forest destruction in the Peruvian Amazon went viral last week. Mongabay explains how a wingcam aboard Stanford’s Carnegie Airborne Observatory, which conducts 3D imaging of the earth’s ecosystems, captured imagines of illegal gold mining in the southern part of Madre de Dios. The Huffington Post picked up the story, delving deeper into extractive industry activities in the Peruvian Amazon.
  • Measuring Economic Change from Space: How can you measure economic output in a country with poor transparency and incomplete statistics? Analyze land use change from space (The Economist).

Land use change and deforestation

  • Brazil’s Recipe for Forest Success: The Economist outlines the powerful combination of technology, policy, and education that has helped Brazil reduce deforestation rates. The article mentions the important satellite monitoring done by Imazon, a Global Forest Watch partner.
  • Forest Clearing in Bangladesh: Environmentalists have raised concerns about recent forest clearing in Bangladesh, including on protected land (Thomas Reuters Foundation).
  • West African forest strategy:Title West Africa adopts a regional approach to the sustainable management of forests and wildlife resources, enabling countries to benefit from coordination and joint funding for forest protection (CIFOR blog).

Land tenure and indigenous rights

  • Honduras Grants Indigenous Land: The Honduran government granted almost 7 percent of its territory – around 760,000 hectares – to indigenous communities in an initiative to help them protect their forests (NYTimes).
  • Indigenous Tribe Battles Deforestation: Ecosystem Marketplace profiles chief Almir of the Surui, leader of a Brazilian tribe that sold the first indigenous carbon credits in the world last month. Digital mapping done in collaboration with Google Earth plays a central role in the Surui’s forest management plan.

Industry and forests

  • The Root of Brazil’s Deforestation: Despite a decrease in deforestation, in part due to pioneering satellite data, illegal logging continues in Brazil. WRI expert Ruth Nogueron outlines the roots of the problem, and efforts taken to address them, on WRI’s Insights blog.
  • Greener Palm Oil Production: The head of Greenpeace’s Indonesia forest campaign argues that companies must be willing to comply with and go beyond the RSPO principles to break the link between palm oil and deforestation (The Guardian).
  • Paper Products and Deforestation:Our Forest team provided much of the data for this piece on the role of paper products in driving deforestation (Triple Pundit).

REDD: forests and climate change

  • Carbon “Time Bomb”: Once globally-significant carbon sinks, Indonesian peatlands are now also a source of carbon emissions, due to paper and palm oil plantations. This means Indonesia – and the world – will have difficulty reaching emissions reductions goals (Jakarta Globe).

Spatial analysis, remote sensing, and crowd-sourcing for the environment

  • Cambodia Maps Development: DevEx recently featured Open Development Cambodia, a project that features interactive maps of the country’s economic land concessions, mining concessions, as well as forest cover, protected areas and fisheries.

Think we missed a story on geospatial analysis and forest management? Let us know! All editorial choices, opinions and any mistakes are the authors’ own.