Online platform developed by World Resource Institute (WRI), namely Global Forest Watch, has entered its fifth year since its establishment in 2014. The platform has allowed public to learn the changes within the forest area, both in the nearby area, as well as in other part of the world.

“Today, it’s easier for people to check the changes in the forest landscape, without going through a long process, such as building a map based on satellite imagery-a long process that must be done before this platform exist. In the last five years, Global Forest Watch has changed the business as usual in the forestry sector,” said Crystal Davis, Director of Global Forest Watch, in the Global Forest Watch Summit last (June, 18th – 19th).

Around 400 of forest monitoring practitioner and innovator coming from 30 countries such as Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Indonesia, China, Cameroon and Kenya met and gathered at the Summit to share the best practices in using Global Forest Watch platform in their work.

Tezar Pahlevi, Coordinator of Forest Monitoring and Law Enforcement, Leuser Conservation Forum (FKL), HaKA Aceh, shared how the Global Forest Watch platform contributes to his organization’s work in conserving the Leuser Ecosystem Area (KEL). KEL is a significant forest area, which serves as a habitat for endangered species such as Sumatran elephants, tiger, rhinos, and orangutans. KEL also stores water reserves during shortage, that benefit for 4 million people living around the ecosystem area.

“In forest monitoring and conservation, building trust between civil society and government is a key. By doing so, the relevant government agencies could accept the evidence-based report from the civil society and take further measures. The good news is that the Global Forest Watch has been adopted by the local government and the Forest Management Unit (KPH) Tahura as a forest monitoring system,” explained Tezar.

Different story came from WRI Indonesia, that uses the Global Forest Watch data for peatland restoration. Since 2015, Indonesia has experienced severe forest fire that have consumed more than 50% of the peatland. The government of Indonesia then tried to protect and restore peatlands—a most carbon-rich ecosystem in the world and the most sought after for agricultural land expansion.

WRI then uses the Global Forest Watch platform to build a peat restoration monitoring tool. In addition, WRI Indonesia also focuses on resolving land conflicts among communities, companies, and the government by promoting the One Map Indonesia initiative. Land conflict settlement could be facilitated if the parties involved refer to the same map, said Hidayah Hamzah, Research Analyst of WRI Indonesia.

Another story came from Women Research Institute that works with women community in villages in Riau Province. This work is aiming to increase women representation in the decision-making process related to land use planning. According to Benita Nastami, researcher at Women Research Institute, Global Forest Watch data here serves as the basis for solving problems faced by communities, such as water and air pollution affected by palm plantation activities.

“The community succeeded to push the local government to provide emergency needs when the forest fire disaster occurs, namely the procurement of face masks for the community,” said Benita. “In other villages, the community succeeded to demand the company to provide a midwife, as an alternative to the lack of access to health facilities in the village,” added Benita.

Other interesting initiatives came from Peru. Peru National Protected Area Service (SERNANP)—a public institution under the Ministry of Environment of PERU collaborates with the indigenous people to save the Sierra Divisor National Park area using the Global Forest Watch platform, namely GLAD alerts and Forest Watcher App.

“What makes us proud is that this monitoring is carried out collaboratively with the community, all parties contribute their resources to ensure the forest monitoring and conservation effort is sustained,” said Emilio Fuentes-Garcia, SERNANP delegation.

Emilio added that forest monitoring report then submitted to the regional environmental prosecutors for further law enforcement effort, or handled internally within the territory of indigenous people.

Asri Nuraeni, Program Manager of the Global Forest Watch Program at Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Indonesia, underlined that data and information today can easily be obtained. Data itself is one thing, but how to make the data work for pushing some reform is another challenge. It what derives the upcoming work of PWYP Indonesia in West Papua to use the Global Forest Watch Platform for forest monitoring from mining threat. It’s widely known that million hectares of mining concession are located in the no-go zone area, including the protected and conservation forest, no exception in West Papua. Strong action is needed to prevent any further damage.