The rainforests of Africa’s Congo Basin are the world’s second largest, and are increasingly one of the most threatened. Agriculture, mining, logging, and climate change are already chipping away and thinning out the forests’ edge and interior. The Congo Basin forests’ biggest threat, however, is unseen: a lack of good information. With poor infrastructure, government capacity challenges, and hard-to-detect patterns of change, the forests of the Congo Basin are among the most difficult in the world to monitor and manage.
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 Amazon is a precious natural resource subject to significant human pressures. Identifying these pressures and understanding how they are related is critical for successful forest management. Traditional forest assessments look at only one or two pressures at a time, such as logging and agriculture. That isn’t enough. WRI and its Brazilian partner Imazon have created a new set of forest maps that include the impacts of civic construction projects, human settlements, fires, and mining operations on the Amazon, thereby providing a more complete picture. We believe these “human pressure” maps will guide better policy decisions. Already, Brazil has used these maps and analysis to establish federally protected areas and state forests, setting aside 9.5 million hectares of important intact rainforest.
Can GIS Lead to Better Estimates of Subsurface Drainage Extent?
Extensive subsurface "tile" drainage systems on Corn Belt farmlands have important implications for nutrient pollution in surface water, notably the hypoxic "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico. Unfortunately, existing drainage data are outdated and inconsistent. Can a map-based...
Mapping less disturbed forest tracts, floodplain and bottomland ecosystems of intact river basins, naturally rare and unique forest communities, and rare and endangered plant species habitats -- to aid regional conservation strategies.
The analysis compiles a comprehensive set of geospatial indicators of human activities that lead to forest degradation and conversion. Illustrated by numerous maps, the results provide valuable insights for land-use planning and zoning.
by Ruth Nogueron, Paulo Barreto, Carlos Souza Jr., Anthony Anderson, Rodney Salomao and in collaboration with Janice Wiles - March 2006