Until now, global forest databases and maps have not been sufficiently accurate or consistent to reveal which forest areas remain intact, which have been damaged and to what extent. This has made it difficult to see which forest areas are most in need of protection. Based on the most up to date, high-resolution satellite imagery and a consistent set of criteria, the consortium of non-governmental organizations has created a new map of the world's Intact Forest Landscapes (IFL). The World's IFL map lets us compare such areas directly and accurately, for the first time. It is the starting point for monitoring of deforestation and forest degradation now and in the future and the baseline for new forest conservation strategy related to global climate and economic changes. The true significance of our mapping approach is its power to enable and catalyze practical conservation planning and action with regard to IFL. The OpenIFL project's goals are to organize easy and effective map review and feedback protocol by using Google Maps API integrated with Web-based GIS and internet forum platform.
IFL Concept Review
The global IFL map is based on a set of criteria and approaches that apply to all countries and continents, without differentiation. The use of a single set of criteria allowed us to produce a globally consistent map and derive estimates of the level of intactness. However, these criteria are not sensitive to regional variations in the understanding of "intactness" and "disturbance", e.g. whether burned areas should be considered the effect of natural disturbance or not. Furthermore, they were designed specifically for use with remotely sensed data. The mapping method is not immune to underestimation of some types of human disturbances that are difficult to detect in satellite imagery, such as selective logging and small-scale slash-and-burn agriculture practices. In order to improve IFL concept and to find the best solutions for solving methodological problems we ask you to participate in the IFL Concept Review.
On-line IFL Map Review Tool
The world IFL map was created through visual interpretation of Landsat images by experts and may contain inconsistencies and inaccuracies because of limitations in the spatial resolution of the imagery and lack of ancillary information about local land-use practices in some regions. There is a certain degree of subjectivity in determining IFL boundaries across transition zones from intact to disturbed areas, especially within non-forest territories, savannas, woodlands, and mountain areas. The method is biased towards overestimating the area of IFL, as imperfect information will cause disturbances to be overlooked and disturbed areas to be classified as intact.
The IFL Mapping Team is continuing to improve the IFL base map and to provide periodically updates as new data, technologies, and more sophisticated sources of information appears. Local experts could play an important role in map improvement and update providing the latest information and comments for their regions of expertise. The Open IFL tool have been designed by opensource geospatial solutions company NextGIS to make this reviewing process easy and effective by using Google Maps® API integrated with Web-based GIS and internet forum platform. The map support team is reviewing all user feedback and revising the map as new evidence of disturbances becomes available.