World Resources Institute Releases Comprehensive Maps That Provide Key Tools

to Manage Northern Forest Frontier


CAMBRIDGE, England--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 13, 2006--Leaders of government,

business and environment groups now have the most advanced set of tools

available to manage the world's final frontier of untouched northern forests

with today's release of new map-based tools detailing forests in Alaska,

Canada, and Russia.


"Government, industry and the public all have a responsibility to manage the

forest frontier responsibly. Today we are releasing the tools needed to live

up to that responsibility. Ignorance can no longer be claimed as an excuse,"

said Jonathan Lash, president, World Resources Institute (WRI).


Discussing his home country in particular, Peter Lee, executive director,

Global Forest Watch Canada, said, "It is high time for everybody to realize

that Canada is not an endless sea of virgin forest anymore. Almost half of

the forest is either logged or fragmented."


WRI and its partners in Global Forest Watch are releasing three sets of

electronic maps here today during a conference of the Taiga Rescue Network

titled "The Global Importance of the Boreal Forest: Migratory Birds and the

Paper Industry."


The maps and reports can be found at and are titled:


-- Mapping Undisturbed Landscapes in Alaska


-- Canada's Large Intact Forest Landscapes and Canada's Forest Landscape



-- Mapping High Conservation Value Forests of Primorsky Kray, Russian Far



The maps trace the frontier of industrial influence across the forests of

Canada and Alaska, and in the tiger habitats of the Russian Far East. A

research consortium of non-governmental organizations has examined thousands

of satellite images and other data, searching for signs of human influence.

The results have been verified in the field and in low-level aircraft



For instance, in Alaska, a considerable extent of the forest landscape

remains essentially untouched - unlike most of the lower 48 U.S. states that

have experienced significant transformations. Alaska boasts the highest

degree of forest intactness (85 percent) of any U.S. state.


"WRI and Global Forest Watch are providing a critical service to government

agencies, forest-product companies, consumers, and the public," said Roger

Dower, president of the U.S. chapter of the Forest Certification Council, a

leading worldwide forest certification body. "These maps of Alaska, Canada,

and Russia provide the basis for better certification decisions."


"If you don't map it, you can't manage it," added Dmitry Aksenov of Global

Forest Watch Russia. "Our maps allow forest companies to translate their

policies into field operations."


Several major companies have already adopted policies that relate to intact

forest ecosystems and which require maps for their implementation. For

example, the purchasing policy of IKEA demands that wood in solid wood

products "does not originate from intact natural forests, unless they are

certified according to a standard recognized by IKEA." In its lending

policy, Bank of America states that "lending proceeds will not go to logging

operations in intact forests as defined by WRI mapping."


Canadian forest products companies Tembec and Alberta-Pacific have also

instituted policies that relate to intact forest landscapes and forest

fragments. Several Canadian governments are not far behind. British

Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia have each adopted policies that address

the maintenance of large, unfragmented forest landscapes.


"It is critical that NASA and other organizations continue to make satellite

images like Landsat freely available so that this kind of original,

independent, and previously unavailable work can continue," said Lars

Laestadius, forest team leader at WRI. "Without quality satellite imagery,

detailed mapping of intactness borders, ecology, ownership, fires, and

protected areas will become even more difficult."


The World Resources Institute ( is an independent, non-partisan,

and nonprofit organization with a staff of more than 100 scientists,

economists, policy experts, business analysts, statistical analysts,

mapmakers, and communicators developing and promoting policies that will

help protect the Earth and improve people's lives.


Global Forest Watch ( is an international network

of institutions - initiated by WRI - which collaborates to map and monitor

forest-rich regions. To create these maps, WRI partnered with Global Forest

Watch Canada (, Conservation Biology Institute

(, Global Forest Watch Russia ( and

World Wildlife Fund Russia (