World Resource Institute

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who can use the Forest Atlases?

Anyone can access and use the Forest Atlases for a range of purposes. Government agencies can track and effectively plan on-the-ground control of forest activities. The private sector can monitor concessions or decide where to build infrastructure projects. Research institutions can use the data to guide research activities or to support findings. Civil society groups can monitor forest areas and access official data on land use.

What kind of data are available on the Forest Atlases?

The Forest Atlases were first created to help governments keep track of major land-use categories such as logging permits, mining concessions, protected areas, hunting zones or community lands. These platforms now combine country-specific information with datasets from other sources such as tree cover loss and gain data from Global Forest Watch. For selected countries, the Forest Atlases also include documents on legal rights or management status of land uses such as concession contracts or management plans. Please refer to our country-specific Forest Atlases for more information on the available data for each country.  

Where do the data come from?

Country-specific land-use data in the Forest Atlases represents official government datasets published by the relevant forest agency. Nationally relevant datasets may also be sourced from academic or research institutions. Land-use change data on tree cover loss and weekly alerts are produced by the University of Maryland. For more information on each dataset, please refer to the Open Data Portal section of each Forest Atlas.

How often are the data updated?

Data are updated as frequently as possible when new information is available. Changes may include adding new land-use allocations, adjusting boundaries or adding new documents as contract information is obtained. Near real-time data such as tree cover loss is updated weekly. Users can also click a shape on the map to find out when a land-use classification was updated.

Can I download the Forest Atlas data?

You can download the Forest Atlas data through the country-specific Open Data Portals. For most datasets, users can choose from multiple download formats such as .csv, .shp, KML, and API. The Open Data Portals make it easy to quickly add data to your favorite tools including ArcMap, ArcGIS Online, Google Earth, ERDAS Imagine and Excel.

Can I run analyses with the Forest Atlas mapping platform?

The Forest Atlases allow users to run analyses on the online maps. By selecting an area or uploading a shapefile, users are given the option to run analyses that determine tree cover extent, loss and gain, as well as the number of fire alerts or biomass loss.

Is the Forest Atlas platform only for maps?

The Forest Atlases present information in various formats (maps, dashboard, posters, text). Most datasets are visualized using the interactive maps, but the platforms also provide additional contextual information on forest management in different formats.

Where can I find the latest publications or posters?

For publications and posters please refer to the “Publications” page or to the Forest Atlas Open Data Portals.

Where can I learn more about how to use the Forest Atlases?

Tutorials on how to use the Forest Atlases are currently available within each national atlas. Where WRI has a country presence, it may also be possible to schedule a hands-on training. Please refer to the atlas of your country of interest for more information, or email forestatlases@wri.org.

How do I cite the data?

We provide detailed metadata for each of the Forest Atlases datasets and publications. If you are referencing a figure or number generated by the Forest Atlases, or data downloaded from an atlas, please use the citation provided in the metadata.

To cite the website or initiative overall, please use: [country name] Forest Atlas. [Name of ministry partner]/World Resources Institute. Accessed on (date).[site link].

What is the difference between Global Forest Watch and the Forest Atlases?

Both Global Forest Watch and the Forest Atlases are WRI-led initiatives that improve access to information on forests. Global Forest Watch (GFW) is an online platform that provides data and tools for monitoring forests, including near real-time information about where and how forests are changing around the world. The Forest Atlases combine the near real-time information available via GFW with country-specific datasets targeted at a national audience. Because they are implemented in partnership with national governments, the Forest Atlases typically contain additional local datasets that are updated more regularly. The Forest Atlases also present broader policy context and access to documents such as forest concession contracts.

Who do I contact with questions about the sites?

Please email general inquiries to forestatlases@wri.org and country-specific questions to our country points of contact (below) or view the list of staff that work on the Forest Atlases: