News and Map Updates


New publication
The IFL Mapping team has published the results of IFL mapping and monitoring 2000-2013, analysis of IFL degradation causes, and comparison of protection methods effectiveness:

P. Potapov, M. C. Hansen, L. Laestadius, S. Turubanova, A. Yaroshenko, C. Thies, W. Smith, I. Zhuravleva, A. Komarova, S. Minnemeyer, E. Esipova. The last frontiers of wilderness: Tracking loss of intact forest landscapes from 2000 to 2013. Science Advances, 2017; 3:e1600821

An Intact Forest Landscape (IFL) is a seamless mosaic of forest and naturally treeless ecosystems with no remotely detected signs of human activity and a minimum area of 500 km2. IFLs are critical for stabilizing terrestrial carbon storage, harboring biodiversity, regulating hydrological regimes, and providing other ecosystem functions. While remaining IFLs comprise only 20% of tropical forest area, they account for 40% of total aboveground tropical forest carbon. Here, we show that global IFL extent has been reduced by 7.2% since the year 2000. An increasing rate of IFL area reduction globally was found, largely driven by a tripling of IFL tropical forest loss in 2011-13 compared to 2001-03. Industrial logging, agricultural expansion, fire and mining/resource extraction were the primary causes of IFL area reduction. Protected areas (IUCN categories I-III) were found to have a positive effect in slowing reduction of IFL area from timber harvesting, but were less effective in limiting agriculture expansion. The certification of logging concessions under responsible management had a negligible impact on slowing IFL fragmentation in the Congo Basin. Fragmentation of IFLs by logging and establishment of roads and other infrastructure initiates a cascade of changes that lead to landscape transformation and loss of conservation values. Given that only 12% of global IFL area is protected, our results illustrate the need for planning and investment in carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation efforts that target the most valuable remaining forests as identified using the IFL approach.

New datasets to explore and download
   The proximity causes of IFL degradation. The layer shows 2000-2013 IFL area loss
   due to fires (considered of human origin) and from all other factors: see Data download
   The boundaries of forest zone and geographic regions used to derive regional statistics
   in our analysis: see Data download

IFL news

  • IUCN World Conservation Congress (Hawaii 2016) adopted Motion 48 "Protection of primary forests, including intact forest landscapes" (read more)
  • Greenpeace: Russia‚Äôs Dvinsky Forest could be lost in a decade (read more)
  • Mongabay: Sapphire boom propels thousands into Madagascar rainforest (read more)


IFL 2000-2013 monitoring results are available for download
The IFL Mapping Team completed a comprehensive assessment and review of the IFL 2000 and 2013 maps. The year 2000 dataset was corrected in a few instances. Specifically, IFL boundary were corrected if the available high-resolution satellite data from Google Earth (TM) revealed pre-2000 infrastructure or disturbances that were not clearly visible on year 2000 Landsat data. The boundaries of forest zone (area with 20% tree canopy density) were corrected using the year 2000 Landsat-based tree canopy cover dataset, and a few IFL areas were excluded as located outside of the forest zone. The IFL map update for the year 2013 was based on the same data sources and methodology as the year 2000 mapping to ensure consistency. In our work we leveraged annual cloud-free Landsat composites and 2001-2013 gross forest cover loss map produced by the University of Maryland and distributed on-line for free as well as the latest imagery available from Google Earth (TM). During the IFL update all human-induced forest clearing, new infrastructure, and burned areas adjacent to actively used infrastructure (permanent roads, rivers, pipelines and power lines) were excluded from the year 2000 IFL, and the remaining areas were attributed as the year 2013 IFL if they passed our size and shape criteria. The current revised version of IFL 2013 has few differences from the on-line map version published in 2014. These differences mainly represent areas where experts disagree or where no clear-sky Landsat observations were available during initial assessment. The UMD 2001-2013 forest cover loss map that was released in late 2014 greatly facilitated the current revision.

The updated year 2000 and 2013 IFL datasets are available through our Data Download page. Please read the dataset description and licensing here.

Web-based IFL mapping tools UPDATE
The IFL map can be viewed on-line using the Global Forest Change web-map supported by the Google Earth Engine. On the Global Forest Change map you may overlay IFL with the 2014 forest cover loss dataset to identify recent changes, and with year 2000 forest cover to separate forest and non-forest ecosystems within IFL areas. On-line IFL map provided on this website powered by the Google Earth Engine. The IFL Mapping Team is deeply grateful to Global Forest Watch and Google Earth Engine teams for their support with IFL visualization.


IFL 2000 map update and 2000-2013 monitoring results
The Greenpeace GIS Laboratory, University of Maryland and Transparent World, with support from the World Resources Institute and WWF Russia, conducted a global update of the IFL map for year 2013. The new dataset shows IFL area reduction from 2000 to 2013 and may be used to quantify and compare global rates of forest degradation. The year 2000 IFL layer was updated in the regions where new local information or better satellite images become available. The previous version of global IFL dataset available here.

Web-based IFL mapping tools
The IFL monitoring results are accessible for visualization and analysis on the cutting-edge Global Forest Watch platform, a dynamic online forest monitoring and alert system empowering people everywhere to better manage forests.

On-line IFL map is provided on this website. The web map interface was developed by the Global Forest Watch GIS team.

The IFL maps and monitoring results are provided and visualized by several data portals: Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE); DRC National Forest Monitoring System; A-Z areas of biodiversity importance.

New publications added
Several new publications employed IFL map and monitoring results to quantify forest degradation and carbon emissions (Zhuravleva et al., 2013; Margono et al., 2014). The new IFL 2000-2013 poster map available here.


Major IFL 2000 dataset update
The World's IFL 2000 map has been updated during 2006-2011 using Landsat imagery archive data (available free of charge since 2008 through USGS data portal Earth Explorer), high resolution imagery from Google Earth, and regional expert data. Updated data provides consistent global IFL depiction for year 2000. Data distributed in ESRI shapefile format only (data in KML format will be added later). We recommend using updated version of IFL dataset to derive statistics, as monitoring baseline, and for regional-scale projects. However, we are retaining the previous version of global IFL dataset (available here).


New IFL web-site design and platform
The IFL map is well-known product and is currently publicly available for use in various GIS standards. However, some problems with data delivery have been reported due to site malfunction. To improve the data access the web-site have been relocated to the USA-based platform granted by the World Resources Institute. The web-interface has been improved to incorporate IFL monitoring results and to highlight the IFL mapping as a multi-organizational project.

News & Updates

New publication
The last frontiers of wilderness: tracking loss of Intact Forest Landscapes from 2000 to 2013

Mapping Team

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