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Global Forest Watch

Global Forest Watch Partnership

Global Forest Watch is an interactive, online forest monitoring and alert system that provides users globally with the information they need to better manage and conserve forest landscapes.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Instructor should become familiar with the resources provided with this tool in advance of use with students.
  • Data and mapping tools could be used to begin a unit/discussion on the importance of forest coverage with student-driven outside research on the ecological and human processes that drive forest cover.

About the Science

  • Easy to use and to access, the interactive online forest monitoring and alert system shows current forest cover and forest loss across the globe as well as statistics parsed out and ranked by country.
  • Uses real-time datasets across the globe (data available from 2001 to 2014).
  • Datasets are displayed on a global map and include information on forest change, cover, use, and conservation, as well as human population density and claims to land. The map makes it easy to summarize data by a specific country or region and the information is available in 15 languages.
  • Comments from Expert Scientist: Very good resource, and a lot of opportunities for educators to design their own activities or have students explore.

About the Pedagogy

  • Start here http://www.globalforestwatch.org/howto for tutorials on step-by-step instructions on how to use the tools. There are also introductory videos http://www.globalforestwatch.org/about/videos explaining the purpose of the project, in multiple languages.
  • Supports open-ended lesson plans. Aligned with NGSS by allowing students to explore data and address a variety of questions. No lesson plans or teaching instructions are provided, although educators can use this data to address questions relevant to their community.
  • Incorporates the ecological and human-dimension of forest cover, which lends to policy-level discussions, particularly around vulnerable populations.
  • Provides opportunity for online discussion with various online communities and other users of the tool.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Also, much of the work is done via interpretation of satellite imagery, which is valid, but the methods are not always clear in terms of how the data was generated. This is less of a concern for lower-grade students though.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Requires internet access to download data.
  • Data is searchable & downloadable via a multitude of parameters (forest change, cover, use, conservation, human populations). Source code available on Github.
  • Excellent technical quality. This is a beta version, however; so it is likely to be changed (and continually updated). Users are invited to provide feedback, share their data, create their own apps to customize data for their own interests, etc.

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