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Mongabay is pleased to announce the launch of the Global Forest Reporting Network. The program aims to improve land use practices by increasing awareness of and transparency around forest-related issues around the world through high-quality, data-driven reporting.

Deforestation is a major problem worldwide. Brazil, Indonesia, and Malaysia are perhaps most famous for their high rates of forest loss, but deforestation is happening at high rates in many countries. Globally, nearly 50,000 hectares of forest disappear every single day, most of this in the tropics.

The repercussions of deforestation echo beyond the trees. As the ecosystems with the highest levels of biodiversity, tropical forests contain approximately 50 percent of the world’s terrestrial species, many of which have yet to be documented by science. Tropical forests also provide critical climate stabilization services by sequestering carbon, regulating precipitation, and moderating local temperature. The impact of forest loss is already being felt around the world; for instance, the increased incidence of drought and fire in some parts of the Amazon basin is due in large part to deforestation of the region.

Tackling deforestation is a nebulous and challenging undertaking. But by spreading awareness of the issues, Mongabay has demonstrated the power of the media to attract attention and focus effort. In 2007, an article published on mongbay.com helped stop the planned conversion of 70 percent of Papua New Guinea’s Woodlark Island for palm oil production. Mongabay’s coverage of the issue sparked international outrage, fuelling petitions and protest letters, and ultimately stopped the plantation developers in their tracks.

The media has huge influence in shaping events, but few organizations cover deforestation and other forest-related issues in much depth. For example, in the case of Woodlark. only a handful of outlets mentioned the situation. Mongabay seeks to fill this crucial gap by expanding its coverage of forest issues around the world through the Global Forest Reporting Network, which will focus on regions around the world that are most affected by deforestation and forest degradation.

The Global Forest Reporting Network is a joint effort between Mongabay.org and World Resources Institute (WRI) that sources data-driven, forest-focused stories from an international network of journalists. The stories will incorporate high-quality data from WRI’s Global Forest Watch project, and be published on the mongabay.com news site under a Creative Commons License. This will allow for free re-posting to other news outlets, thus helping to increase awareness outside the bounds of Mongabay’s direct readership.

The Global Forest Reporting Network aims to commission scores of stories in its first year, most of which would not otherwise be reported by the international media. In doing so, the program will promote global transparency on land use, bolster the market for environmental journalism, and help save the world’s forests, one story at a time.