How Staples Is Managing Transparency with Suppliers
This publication is part of a series of case studies is intended to show commercial buyers of wood and paper-based products how their supply chains can conform with U.S. legal requirements on importing certain types of wood. The case studies draw lessons from emerging best practices for managing...
Investing in Forested Landscapes for Source Water Protection in the United States
Aging water infrastructure, increasing demand, continued land use change, and increasingly extreme weather events are driving the costs of water management higher in the United States. Investing in integrated water management strategies that combine engineered solutions with "natural...
by Todd Gartner, James Mulligan, Rowan Schmidt and John Gunn - October 2013
Securing clean water is becoming increasingly difficult in the United States. Infrastructure like dams and treatment plants are aging, water demand is increasing, and more frequent extreme weather events like wildfires and flooding are driving up the cost of water management.
It’s a complex problem, but one of the potential solutions is decidedly low-tech: Invest in nature.
Many nations struggle with how to manage and protect their natural resources—resources that are frequently the source of significant biological and economic value. Russia can better protect its important nature conservation areas, thanks to a new map and data set developed by WRI and Global Forest Watch Russia. This map provides the most comprehensive view of all of Russia’s federal-level protected areas. Now, the Ministry for Natural Resources can better monitor activities where logging and mining is allowed, and stop activities in pristine and protected areas. Already, Megatron, a Russian oil company, has changed the boundaries of its drilling concession where they overlapped a protected area.
WRI’s international Global Forest Watch (GFW) network now maps ninety percent of the world’s primary forests. Companies, governments, and environmental groups worldwide use our maps and expertise to reconcile conservation and development needs. The Russian environmental group SPOK, for example, relied on WRI’s boreal maps in its negotiations with Karellesprom, a major logging company, to spare an unprotected section of one of Europe’s last remaining primary forests. The Forest Stewardship Council–a globally recognized label for sustainable forest management—is using GFW maps across Canada and Russia to ensure that certified companies take proper account of large forests. Forest companies doing business in boreal forest regions are now guided by GFW maps.
The government of Nova Scotia announced an ambitious plan earlier this month to protect 245,000 hectares of forest and park land, establishing the Canadian province as a conservation leader in one of the world’s most heavily forested nations. Roughly 14 percent of all land in Nova Scotia will now be legally protected from development, making it the province with the second-highest percentage of land devoted to protected areas in Canada, after British Columbia.
This news is significant for conservationists and for the vast number of Canadians who depend on these forests for clean air, water, and a bounty of other resources. It also illustrates a powerful truth: precise, science-based maps are an essential component of good forest management and planning.
Indonesia’s Kalimantan Province on the island of Borneo is a resource rich region subject to forest fires that regularly break out during dry spells because of the spread of illegal land-clearing fires. Indonesia is the fourth largest global emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, and forest fires are a significant contributor to these emissions. A new “fire atlas” produced by WRI, its local partners, and the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry is helping the government do a better job of monitoring fires and land clearing, thereby enabling the government to shift money and resources to at-risk protected areas. The next step is a fire atlas for the entire country.
Russia’s forests are the largest in the world. Stretching from the Baltic to the Sea of
Japan, they encompass the last wild forests of Europe, make up the vast wilderness
of Siberia, and provide habitat for the highly endangered Siberian tiger.
In recent decades, road-building, logging, and wildfires have increasingly degraded
these ancient and previously largely intact forests. To protect some particularly
valuable forests, the Russian government used data provided by Global Forest Watch
Russia, a partnership between WRI and several Russian forest conservation groups.
Dr. Lars Laestadius leads WRI’s work in Russia. “The Russian government’s
attitude toward non-governmental organizations is very cautious, but, at the same
time, it realizes they have unique biodiversity data and maps on the country’s
forests. Using satellite imagery and field visits, the Global Forest Watch Russia
network mapped conservation values in Russia’s forests and made the results
These maps influenced the Russian government as it prioritized new areas for
protection and drew the boundaries of three new national parks. Similarly, the
forest-rich Republic of Karelia bordering Finland relied on Global Forest Watch
Russia maps and data for its new forest plan, which outlines thirteen new
protected areas and identifies future areas for protection.
Cameroon’s forests, covering more than 20 million hectares, offer a range of ecosystem services and are vital resources for both biodiversity and economic growth. But illegal loggers also find value in the forests, and illegal logging has long threatened local livelihoods, decimated wildlife, and squandered public revenue. The Cameroonian government is responsible for controlling logging activities, but a lack of adequate forest-related information, tools, and capacity has historically made it difficult to monitor logging activities.
Recognizing this critical gap, WRI launched a partnership in 2002 with Cameroon’s Ministry of Forestry and interested NGOs. WRI’s goal was to provide information and tools that would improve transparency, accountability, and forest monitoring — ultimately serving as the springboard for a crackdown on illegal logging. WRI developed interactive maps, data, and decision-support systems to monitor logging activities and trained government officials, NGO, and private sector representatives on their use. These systems have:
Enabled Cameroonian officials to systematically detect logging violations in protected areas and outside of forest concessions.
Empowered local NGOs to conduct independent monitoring of logging operations.
Helped ensure wood products leaving Cameroon were harvested legally, in compliance with international import regulations such as the FLEGT and U.S. Lacey Act.
As the first international NGO to map Cameroon’s forests and place accurate, up-to-date information into public hands, WRI sent ripples through the Cameroonian forest sector, making it clear that illegal logging would no longer go unnoticed or unpunished.