World Resources Institute WRI

New map viewer shows development in the forests of the democratic republic of congo

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Source: World Resources Institute WRI

WRI and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation, and Tourism (MECNT) are pleased to announce the release of the interactive map viewer for the Forest Atlas of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Government of DRC faces many challenges in developing comprehensive forest management and zoning processes, as well as the day-to-day monitoring of forest-based activities such as logging, mining and agriculture. In 2006, MECNT partnered with WRI to develop the Interactive Forest Atlas as a freely and publicly available resource. The interactive map viewer provides a way to explore the Atlas in detail online.

The map viewer features data on roads, logging and mining concessions, protected areas and detailed forest change. Map layers are arranged into a menu of options that allow users to view the information by themes such as forest zoning, timber production, mining and forest cover change.

MECNT and WRI collaborated to produce the map layers on forest development, while forest change data was provided by the project Forêts d’Afrique Centrale Evaluées par Télédétection (FACET), an initiative of the Observatoire Satellital des Forêts d’Afrique Centrale (OSFAC), South Dakota State University (SDSU), the University of Maryland (UMD) with support from USAID’s Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE). The FACET data can also be viewed on the UMD CARPE Mapper website.

Users can click on forest concessions or protected areas for further information. The transparency of map layers is adjustable to view the base map data underneath; for example, logging concessions may be made transparent to view logging roads visible on satellite imagery beneath them. Any of the map themes can also be viewed in Google Earth, and GIS datasets used in the map are available for download.

For users with online connectivity, this interactive map viewer is a simplified and easy-to-use version of the more exhaustive information found in the Interactive Forest Atlas of DRC - version 1.0, CD and overview report.

Easier access to current forest land allocation in the DRC will help the government improve land use planning, monitoring, and resolution of conflicts over resources in areas of overlapping claims. It will also help local NGOs and communities understand government actions and defend their access rights.

The DRC Forest Atlas map viewer is the first in a series of interactive maps focusing on forest developments and change. Over the coming months, additional map viewers will be available for other central African countries and Indonesia.

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