Introducing Mongabay Data Studio: Bridging environmental science and action

In environmental conservation, a profound gap exists between the wealth of data detailing our world’s changing ecosystems and the actionable insights needed to protect them.

Enter Mongabay Data Studio, which bridges the divide between environmental science and action by developing impactful tools, creating insightful data journalism, and connecting a network of credible partners.

“There’s been an explosion in new technologies that enable environmental storytelling from sophisticated satellites to air quality sensors to bioacoustic monitors,” said Mongabay VP of programs and executive editor Willie Shubert. “But people aren’t using the data they produce because the interpretation of that information isn’t there. There is a gap in access to technology that journalism can provide. I’m most excited about building the connection between this novel evidence and environmental storytelling.” Mongabay is an independent, nonprofit media organization reporting on nature and planetary challenges with a global network of local journalists.

As a nascent initiative built in collaboration with several partners, Mongabay Data Studio equips journalists, researchers, and conservationists with sophisticated yet accessible data visualization tools. By integrating environmental, social and satellite data from reputable sources, Mongabay Data Studio aims to make complex information accessible and actionable.

“The challenge is not about the volume of data; it is about how we transform this data into accessible information for policymakers, for governments, for society. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that we have the right technology and storytelling to do so,” said María Ricart, sustainable business lead at Mongabay Data Studio partner Vizzuality. Vizzuality is a leading design and technology agency specializing in science-based data visualization and decision-making platforms, such as Global Forest Watch, Marxan and Trase.

The ultimate goal is to improve understanding of environmental issues to inspire more informed, transparent, evidence-based narratives. As such, Mongabay Data Studio is emerging as a vital resource for those looking to enhance the impact of their work in environmental conservation and awareness.

Mongabay Data Studio offers the opportunity to:

  • Engage in novel research to create scalable tools that activate and inform audiences. 
  • Empower journalists to integrate accurate sources of scientific data as context and evidence within their news narratives. 
  • Build a collaborative global network of partners and people to mobilize.

Gathering for the launch of Mongabay Data Studio in Madrid

Mongabay founder and CEO Rhett Butler speaks to the audience at the official launch of Mongabay Data Studio in Madrid. Image by Alejandro Muñoz for Mongabay.

The official launch of Mongabay Data Studio took place on Feb.20, 2024, a milestone event that brought together more than 50 guests, including journalists, conservationists, technologists, and supporters from a range of Spanish and international organizations, such as:

  • The Guardian
  • The Conversation
  • Wildlife Conservation Society
  • National Museum of Natural Sciences in Spain
  • Ecotopía
  • Global Strategic Communications Council
  • Science Media Centre Spain

Data Tools

Mongabay is developing a suite of accessible visualization tools designed to empower journalists to create stories backed by accurate data sources.

Here are some examples of our current offerings, built in partnership with a range of organizations:

  • Earth Atlas: Quickly combine environmental, social and satellite data aggregated from various reputable sources to create maps that add evidence and context to articles.
  • Fire Weather Almanac: Find shared stories of climate impact. Reveal and compare the annual cycles of fire on land and water in the atmosphere at national and subnational scales.
  • Reforestation App: Compare reforestation and tree-planting projects from around the world. This directory is the ideal starting point for people wanting to learn how to support reforestation.
  • Trade Flow Map: Agricultural commodities move globally and cause deforestation. Find, follow and create maps of their trails with data from

Data Journalism

Sarijan stands in an abandoned rice field in Limbung village, Indonesia, now overtaken with tall brush. Image by Victor Fidelis Sentosa for Mongabay.

Mongabay Data Studio specializes in creating accurate stories that distill complexity and inform decision-making by connecting the dots between science, journalism and technology.

By employing the suite of tools, Mongabay’s own journalism has been able to expose many environmental truths, including, but not limited to:

In short, Mongabay Data Studio provides a pathway to create storytelling with purpose that integrates science, journalism and technology to spur informed environmental action.

Click here to read more stories powered by Mongabay Data Studio.

Use Mongabay Data Studio to enhance your reporting

We encourage contributors to explore Mongabay’s open calls for pitches, considering how Mongabay Data Studio can enhance and inform your storytelling. Our suite of data visualization tools is designed to empower journalists to integrate scientific data into their narratives, providing a stronger evidence base and richer context to the stories we share with the world.

People and Partners

Mongabay VP of programs and executive editor Willie Shubert addressing partners at the official launch event for Mongabay Data Studio in Madrid. Image by Alejandro Muñoz for Mongabay.

Mongabay Data Studio connects a global network of journalists, technologists, researchers and designers with leading environmental data platforms that work in collaboration to gather reliable information from across the world.

“Working with an interdisciplinary team is absolutely vital because journalists bring the skills of story, but technologists, researchers, scientists, they can bring credible evidence from novel sources in ways that have never been done before,” Shubert said.

Several partners, like Trase, Vizzuality and the World Resources Institute, have collaborated with Mongabay to build the existing tools. Others involved are the individuals behind our environmental data journalism including Mongabay’s global network of journalists and Vizzuality’s team of technologists, designers and scientists.

Given Mongabay Data Studio’s early phase, the potential for impact is immense, but so is the need for support. As it continues to emerge as a pivotal communication resource, we need your support to sustain and expand our efforts to address the gap between environmental science and action.

If you are interested in helping sustain impactful data journalism, there are two excellent ways you can do so with Mongabay. First, consider donating, which directly helps us continue to build new functionality and onboard new partners for Mongabay Data Studio. Second, subscribe to Mongabay’s newsletter to get the latest environmental news from nature’s frontline delivered right to your inbox.