Mission: To help policy and decision makers achieve sustainable management of forest resources through strengthened land-use planning and monitoring.
Background: GFW was established in 1997 by the World Resources Institute as part of the Forest Frontiers Initiative, a network of NGOs that produced up-to-date reports about the state of forests in four pilot countries — Cameroon, Canada, Gabon, and Indonesia — and from the outset leveraged the latest technology with on-the-ground partnerships to accomplish its mission. In 2014, the site was relaunched as a fully interactive platform providing forest monitoring data for the whole world. New Web-based tools (GFW Commodities, GFW Biodiversity, GFW Climate, GFW Water) followed, and in 2016 the platform began providing weekly and monthly deforestation alerts, increasing the ability of the site's users to respond to deforestation activity in real-time. Forest Watcher, a mobile app, followed in 2017, enabling the platform's users to take GFW data and tools into the field. Since 2014, more than 1.5 million people from every country in the world have visited the GFW platform, resulting in a 27 percent increase in unique visits and a 34 percent increase in average time spent on the site.
Outstanding Web Features: Visitors to the site can interact with a data-driven map of the globe that enables them to analyze trends in forest change, forest cover, forest use, climate, and forest conservation; overlay data across categories; and/or zoom in on a specific data point for additional details. The site also provides a dashboard that highlights key data on the state of an individual country's forests, the forestry sector's contribution to the national economy, climate change data, and relevant laws and conventions. Under GFW's open source and open data policy, data sets can be downloaded for free by anyone interested in the state of the world's forests, including governments, nongovernmental organizations, indigenous communities, researchers, members of the media, and concerned citizens.