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Global Forest Watch


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Geography

Resource Type

  • Interactive Media

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - Northeast, New Jersey

Global Forest Watch Interactive Map

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  • This interactive map visualizes large amounts of data related to forests and land use including tree cover, deforestation over time, fires, types of land use, climate, and biodiversity. 
Teaching Tips


  • Turning different map layers on and off allows students to gain a deeper understanding of what is located on the Earth in different locations and to see how those things are changing over time.
  • This tool lends itself to curiosity and excellent questions.
  • This resource is great for investigating a specific country or region of the world.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should have some basic geography knowledge and should be reminded that approximately 80 percent of species on land live in forests.
  • There are default maps available to browse that display tree cover gain, tree cover loss, and current tree cover.


  • This tool might feel overwhelming to some learners. These learners might benefit from only looking at one layer of data at a time.
  • Students could be divided into groups to explore different topics and/or focus on specific areas.
  • Science classes could use this map to help students visualize habitat loss and degradation when discussing species extinctions, biodiversity loss, and deforestation.
  • Social studies classes could discuss the effects of deforestation on Indigenous communities and communities that rely on healthy ecosystems and forests for food, water, and shelter.
  • Other resources about forests and land use include this Google Earth Timelapse resource and this video about forest monitoring
Scientist Notes

The interactive map contains appropriate data layers that display forest change, informed with accurate datasets. It is simplified, suitable, and recommended for educators to teach students to understand the variation and rate of the world's forest change.

  • Science and Engineering
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-4 Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
  • Social Studies
    • Geography
      • Geography 1 (D3): Students understand the geography of the United States and various regions of the world and the effect of geographic influences on decisions about the present and future by describing the major regions of the Earth and their major physical, environmental, and cultural features using a variety of geographic tools, including digital tools and resources.
  • Related Resources


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    • I've used this multiple times with my high school students. It's a perfect tool to drive curiosity and engagement. And it leads to the necessary "So what should we do about deforestation?" Highly recommend!
      2 years ago