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People & Ecosystems

New French Satellite Imagery to Help Forest Management in the Congo Basin

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.

Starting this month, 1,500 high-resolution satellite images of the Congo Basin from the SPOT satellite constellation provided by Airbus Defence and Space are being shared with WRI, thanks to an agreement with French institutions of the Tropical Forest Spatial Observation program.

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Renewing the Global Commitment to Crop Breeding

In an article originally published for Devex, Tim Searchinger and Craig Hanson discuss a new World Resources Report publication, which finds that using the modern advances of genetics—such as DNA mapping—offers a great opportunity to increase crop yields while also protecting the environment.

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It's Time for a Global Landscape Restoration Revolution

Andrew Steer, CEO of WRI, and Monique Barbut of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification discuss the urgent need for a global commitment to restoring degraded land and how it may remedy deforestation, desertification and food scarcity.

The expected rise in world population to 9 billion by 2050, and the need for a 70 percent increase in food production from 2006 levels, makes the need for a solution particularly urgent. This challenge will be even more difficult in the face of a changing climate.

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People-Oriented Cities: Mixed-Use Development Creates Social and Economic Benefits

The “People-oriented Cities” series—exclusive to TheCityFix and Insights—is an exploration of how cities can grow to become more sustainable and livable through transit-oriented development (TOD). The nine-part series will address different urban design techniques and trends that reorient cities around people rather than cars.

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High-Resolution Satellites Help Monitor and Respond to Fires in Southeast Asia

Today, in Jakarta, WRI, DigitalGlobe, the Indonesian government, Google, Esri, and a host of other partners launched Global Forest Watch Fires, an online platform for monitoring and responding to forest and land fires in Southeast Asia.

It features near real-time satellite images from DigitalGlobe, fire alerts from NASA, a text messaging alert system, mapping of burn scars from Google Earth Engine, wind direction and air quality data, land-use and concession maps, and much more.

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Closing the "Food Gap" Means Renewing the Global Commitment to Crop Breeding

The world is on a path to need almost 70 percent more crops in 2050 than those it produced in 2006. To close that crop gap without large price increases or clearing more valuable forests and savannas, yields are going to have to grow 33 percent more in the next 44 years than they did in the last 44.

Using advances in molecular biology to breed better crops can sustainably secure more of the global food supply.

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To Maracanã and Beyond: World Cup Brings Sustainable Transport Benefits to Brazil

Brazil spent billions of dollars on World Cup infrastructure, and many are understandably questioning the long-term benefits these investments will bring to local communities.

While many of these criticisms are justified, if one looks beyond the shiny new stadiums—namely, to the city streets—a more positive story emerges. World Cup-related investments helped finance sustainable transport systems that will benefit Brazilians long after the final whistle blows.

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