GLAD for Forest Monitoring Options! Part 2

We are back with Ruth Nogueron of the World Resources Institute (WRI) talking about Global Forest Watch (GFW) and GLAD (Global Land Analysis and Discovery) alerts. Last week Ruth talked about the development of the program and the amazing technology that let’s us look at tiny changes in forest cover from satellite images. This week we’ll talk about how to use that cool stuff.

Ruth, it’s cool tech, but tell me what is the practical use for someone in the flooring industry?

Ruth: It’s a great way to monitor the forest condition.Users can analyze, subscribe to and share these alerts on the GFW platform. By adjusting the timeline, users can select specific periods that coincide with clearing events (e.g. road expansion like the image from last week).

Users can also draw, select, or upload their own shapes to search for alerts within specific areas of interest like forest management areas, protected areas, or private properties. Thanks to GFW’s partnership with Planet, a satellite imagery provider, users can now overlay GLAD alerts atop recent high-resolution satellite imagery to validate the alerts and gain insights about the geographic context of the alerts.

Once a user has selected an area of interest, they can subscribe to receive alerts directly in their inboxes as well as share their analyses via social media, e-mail and even embedded onto other web pages.

Ok, can you show me how it works? For example, Santos mahogany is used for flooring—how would GFW’s GLAD alert help me?

Ruth: Well, if you knew where your Santos Mahogany was coming from, you could set up a subscription to receive an e-mail notification of any alerts in that area an analyze them with additional information.

This is how you do it:

Go to the map on the Global Forest Watch website ( There are three default layers: the cumulative Tree Cover Gain from 2001 to 2012; the annual tree cover loss from 2001 to 2018, and the baseline tree cover loss as of 2010. To turn off those layers by clicking the “x” on the legend. Go to Peru using the “search” option. While you are there, turn on the Peru forest concessions dataset. Zoom in on this concession in Loreto. From the “Forest Change” tab, turn on the GLAD alerts, and you can see the alerts in the area from the first of January 2015 to the 13 of July 2019.

If you click in the area and select “analyze” the system will analyze the alerts within the area and tell you the size of the area and the number of alerts for the timeframe you selected, this is January 2015 to July 13 2019. On that same window, you can login with Twitter, Facebook or Google to subscribe to future alerts. You will be able to specify the monitoring system you are interested on, in this case the GLAD alerts. Confirm your subscription, and voilá. The next time there is an alert in your area of interest, you will receive an e-mail with a link to the site for your area of interest.

In addition to selecting areas of interest from the datasets on the platform, users can draw or upload their areas of interest.

To draw an area of interest for monitoring, select “draw or upload shape” from the analysis tab next to the legend. Click on the “start drawing” button and clicking on the map to draw your polygon. You finish the polygon by double clicking on your last vertex. To upload your own polygon, you select “pick a file or drop one here” and upload your dataset. You can access the specific instructions about what type of datasets and formats are accepted by clicking on the “I” within the green circle.

Besides the subscription service, there are other cool things you can do on the platform:

You can share your exact view and analysis with others by selecting the “embed and share” button.

This is one of my favorites. You can compare the alerts with recent Landsat and Sentinel satellite imagery by clicking on the satellite icon. But even more exciting, you can change the base map to show also recent, high resolution, satellite imagery from Planet. To do this, you click on the “default” button, select “Planet” and choose the time frame. With this imagery you can validate the alerts and try to get additional visual information of what might be causing the loss. Keep in mind, however, that cloud coverage always presents a limitation—as it is common in the tropics— and you might not always get clean, cloud-free image.

Cool! Next week, let’s talk about using GLAD for due care.

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Elizabeth Baldwin is Environmental Compliance Officer for Metropolitan Hardwood Floors. In her 25 plus year career in the wood industry has visited over 70 countries and hundreds of facilities of all sizes and types. She describes herself as a “jack of all wood trades.” Familiar with jungles of all sorts–having camped out along the Amazon and walked the halls of Congress–she blogs for the NWFA on both environmental and regulatory issues for educational and informational purposes only. Her blog is not intended and should not be construed as legal advice. Persons seeking legal advice on compliance with CARB, TSCA, the U.S. Lacey Act or any other law, regulation, or compliance requirement/claim should consult with the regulatory agency directly and/or a qualified legal professional.

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