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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.

7 Unexpected Places for Forest Landscape Restoration

There is a tremendous amount of underutilized and unproductive land throughout the world that has the potential to provide valuable ecosystem services if trees are returned to the landscape.

In collaboration with the University of Maryland and IUCN, and as part of the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration, WRI recently updated its Atlas of Forest Landscape Restoration Opportunities. We found that more than 2 billion hectares of land worldwide have the potential to be restored—and many of them are located in some unexpected places.

World’s 18 Most Water-Stressed Rivers

WRI’s Aqueduct project recently evaluated, mapped, and scored stresses on water supplies in the 100 river basins with the highest populations, 100 largest river basins, and 180 nations. We found that 18 river basins—flowing through countries with a collective $US 27 trillion in GDP—face “extremely high” levels of baseline water stress. This means that more than 80 percent of the water naturally available to agricultural, domestic, and industrial users is withdrawn annually—leaving businesses, farms, and communities vulnerable to scarcity.

New Small Grants Fund Can Help Civil Society Groups Combat Deforestation

On the heels of the Global Forest Watch (GFW) launch comes the GFW Small Grants Fund. The Fund, which we’re opening up for applications today, aims to support civil society organizations around the world to use the GFW platform in innovative and impactful ways. We have pledged an initial $375,000 for 2014 and are accepting applications through June 30. The Fund offers local organizations from around the world the chance to improve forest management in their own communities.

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