Giles Crosse looks at UN efforts to remove the barriers that have prevented the plethora of remote sensing tools now available to bring about change on the ground

The launch of World Resources Institute’s Global Forest Watch platform in 2014 was revolutionary in that it made global spatial forest monitoring data freely available online, along with easily understood maps, charts and graphs.

Yet data collected by the platform has also highlighted the failure of these new eyes in the skies to turn the tide on accelerating deforestation.

This year Global Forest Watch revealed that tree cover shrank by another 29.4 million hectares in 2017, close to the record 29.7m ha lost in 2016.

If we want to connect things to change systems one player that needs to participate is the governments

The data underlined findings by researchers at World Resources Institute (WRI) and Wageningen University, who said there is a widening gap between the plethora of remote sensing tools available and what is actually being developed, maintained and applied by tropical countries on the ground.

One big barrier is that corruption and bribery are rife across the developing world. According to local sustainability NGOs and reporters, Cambodia is one government that has been known to sanction burning of national park forests, clearing space for Chinese investors while forcibly resettling locals.

“If we want to connect things to change systems one player...

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Global Forest Watch  deforestation  Convention on Biodiversity  WRI  NASA  Environmental Investigation Agency  UNDP  biodiversity 

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