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The UN has announced that March 21 be recognized as the International Day of Forests. In tandem with the celebration of forests worldwide, is an awareness that we are still losing forests and trees much faster than they can regrow.

Many people are working to reverse tree cover loss in the world’s largest remaining forests. But several hugely important deforestation hotspots are still flying under the radar. These forest areas are seeing alarming trends and/or have lost much of their tree cover. We are using the latest data from Global Forest Watch, an online forest monitoring and alert system, to dive deeper into some under-reported deforestation hotspots.

Updated maps of forest damage can take years to produce, making it difficult to know where to focus limited enforcement efforts.

But it doesn't have to be this way, thanks to advances in technology. Global Forest Watch, the near-real time forest monitoring application released by WRI and partners last week, is powered in part by FORMA, a monitoring system that issues monthly forest loss alerts for the humid tropics in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. FORMA (FORest Monitoring for Action) is designed to help people managing forests respond more quickly to unwanted forest loss. Learn more about the system through our new issue brief.

Clearing land for timber and agriculture is likely to blame for Indonesia's latest bout of fires. According to data from Global Forest Watch—a new online system that tracks tree cover change, fires, and other information in near-real time—roughly half of these fires are burning on land managed by oil palm, timber, and logging companies—despite the fact that using fire to clear land is illegal in Indonesia.

With Global Forest Watch, everyone from business executives to policymakers to indigenous groups can find out what’s happening in forests around the world—and use this information to take action. Now that we have the ability to peer into forests around the globe, a number of telling stories are beginning to emerge.

Learn more about how you can make your own map, here.


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