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As part of an effort of the World Resources Institute Global Restoration Initiative to map forest and landscape restoration opportunities, the map of potential forests represents an estimate of where forests would grow under current climate conditions and without human influence. The main source of data for defining potential forest extent is the terrestrial ecoregions of the world (Olson et al. 2001). Each ecoregion was classified as belonging to one of four categories: dense forests, open forests, woodlands, or non-forest, depending on its description (including current and potential vegetation) and its proportion of different forest types, with additional input from the following datasets: current forest extent; bioclimatic zoning and original forest cover extent; and a forest distribution map produced by modeling based on global climate variables and elevation (Hansen et al. 2013, Zomer et al. 2007). The dataset is based on significant simplifications due to limited availability of globally-consistent data. The maps are at a relatively coarse scale and should only be used to estimate potential forest coverage at regional or global scale. Estimates of potential forest coverage are based on current climate conditions in the absence of human disturbance.

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  • By on January 26, 2016
  • Updated about 2 months ago

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