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WASHINGTON (September 4, 2014)— Global Forest Watch, a dynamic online forest monitoring and alert system developed by the World Resources Institute with over 40 partners, has been selected as one of two winners of the Big Data Climate Challenge, a global competition hosted by United Nations Global Pulse. The UN announced the winners as part of the buildup to the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit on 23 September at UN Headquarters in New York.

Tar Sands Threaten World’s Largest Boreal Forest

According to data from Global Forest Watch, an online mapping platform that tracks tree cover loss and gain in near-real time, industrial development and forest fires in Canada’s tar sands region has cleared or degraded 775,500 hectares (almost two million acres) of boreal forest since the year 2000. That’s an area more than six times the size of New York City. If the tar sands extraction boom continues, as many predict, we can expect forest loss to increase.

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