Global Forest Watch image showing forest loss near Lake Toba in North Sumatra. This map was used for a story about a conflict between a local community and an industrial pulp and paper company. Click here to enlarge.
I’m excited to announce that Mongabay.org is launching a new initiative that will broaden our reach, improve our reporting, boost transparency and accountability around forests, and offer opportunities for environmental journalists around the world.
Today we’re officially unveiling the Global Forest Reporting Network, a program that will source data-driven, forest-focused stories from an international network of journalists. The project is a joint effort between Mongabay and the World Resources Institute (WRI), which recently launched Global Forest Watch, a platform that provides data on the world’s forests and is potentially a rich source for story ideas.
During the 9-month pilot phase, we’ll be commissioning stories that incorporate high-quality data from Global Forest Watch. We hope the initiative can explore questions like:
- Are palm oil companies setting fires around their concessions in Sumatra as a strategy for expanding their holdings?
- Why has Côte d’Ivoire’s Marahoué National Park lost 93 percent of its forest cover in less than a decade?
- Is Brazil’s success in reducing deforestation displacing ranching and soy expansion to neighboring areas in Bolivia, Argentina, and Paraguay?
- Why are oil palm plantations popping up in the middle of protected areas in Indonesia’s West Kalimantan?
- How accurate is the Indian government’s forest data?
- How fast are natural forests being converted to plantations within Indonesian timber concessions?
To facilitate the process, WRI will be offering online trainings to journalists on how to get the most out of Global Forest Watch, unlocking the data and turning it into stories.
The Global Forest Reporting Network represents the first phase of bigger things to come from Mongabay. And yes, we do plan to go beyond forests to look at other important social and environmental issues. For now however, we’ll be building out the contributor network and commissioning stories. If you have experience as a journalist and are interested in learning more or applying, please visit mongabay.org/news/gfrn for additional details.