GFW Commodities – Tools for Greenhouse Gas Emissions

A new initiative from the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) aims to shed light on how individual oil palm concessions affect forest information that can empower companies to manage their forests and supply chains more sustainably. Global Forest Watch-Commodities (GFW-Commodities), a new platform produced by Blue Raster combines the RSPO’s maps of certified sustainable palm oil production sites with global forest data like tree cover loss, forest clearance, locations of primary forests and legal land classifications. Armed with these new maps and knowledge, companies can reduce the risk that the palm oil they purchase contributes to deforestation.

Global Forest Watch-Commodities built by Blue Raster

WRI analysis has shown that companies, communities, NGOs and different levels of government often have different information about forest use. These maps will act as a universally available, coherent and current source of information for any of these above groups to utilize in their work to make palm oil production sustainable for the environment and the communities that rely on it.

Global Forest Watch-Commodities built by Blue Raster

GFW-Commodities was built on Esri’s ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS API for JavaScript. It leverages the Image Extension for ArcGIS Server, to compute, analyze and provide statistics on tree cover loss over time, near real time forest clearing and fires within selected areas of interest.  The analysis features come out-of-the-box with Esri’s Image Extension for ArcGIS Server. Satellite data including Landsat and MODIS are mosaiced and allow for analysis on-the-fly as users explore their areas of interest. 

Key features of each tool:

  • Suitability Mapper
    • Ability to set own suitability criteria based on a range of environmental factors
    • Identifies degraded areas as alternative to development on forest areas
  • Forest Analyzer
    • Detailed land cover data, include data layers on forests, tree cover, and peat lands all important to zero deforestation goals and climate change strategies
    • Additional data layers on protected areas and population density
  • RSPO Support tool
    • – Never-before accessible maps of certified areas for palm oil production
    • – Analysis of forest change on certified areas
    • – Analysis necessary for RSPO compensation procedure

Features of all three tools:

    • Option for users to upload their own shape file for analysis
    • Download data and results for further analysis

The Global Forest Watch platform is at the forefront in its field and will continue to grow and evolve with its use, applying technology for a sustainable world. Read more about the project and WRI’s efforts towards sustainability in Wired magazine – “How a New Map of Palm Oil Plantations Could Help Save Rainforests.”

Videos of Application:

Featured at Esri UC 2014

Tutorial by World Resources Institute