Data on the key drivers of tropical forest loss were collected using the Geo-Wiki platform. The data, collected within a geographical area of 30 degrees North and South of the equator, are openly available and are already being used in different studies.

At the end of 2020, a Geo-Wiki crowdsourcing campaign was carried out to collect information on the main drivers of tropical forest loss during the period 2008 until 2019. The idea was to update the information collected in the past by Curtis et al. (2019) at a higher spatial resolution. Over a two-week period, 58 participants from around the world used the Geo-Wiki application to identify the primary and secondary drivers of forest loss, including presence of roads, trails, or buildings, at 115K unique locations in the tropics and subtropics (between 30 degrees North and South of the equator). The initial data on forest loss was provided by Global Forest Watch (Hansen et al., 2013). The data collected were then used to produce an initial wall-to-wall map of primary forest lost drivers, shown below.

Drivers of tropical forest loss between 2008 and 2019 © NODES/IIASA
Drivers of tropical forest loss between 2008 and 2019

The data are being used in the DG-Energy funded “ILUC-LOT 1” project to help understand crop expansion in forested areas. The data have also been used to investigate deforestation in protected areas at a continental lev el, finding that in some cases, deforestation is larger inside than outside protected areas (Fritz et al., 2022).

The results of the campaign are available from Laso Bayas et al. (2022) while the data collected can be accessed from IIASA’s PURE repository.


Curtis, P. G., Slay, C. M., Harris, N. L., Tyukavina, A., and Hansen, M. C. (2018). Classifying drivers of global forest loss. Science 361, 1108–1111. doi:10.1126/science.aau3445.

Fritz, S., Laso Bayas, J., See, L., Schepaschenko, D., Hofhansl, F., Jung, M., Dürauer, M., Georgieva, I., Danylo, O., Lesiv, M. and McCallum, I. (2022). A continental assessment of the drivers of tropical deforestation with a focus on protected areas. Frontiers in Conservation Science. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcosc.2022.830248

Hansen, M. C., Potapov, P. V., Moore, R., Hancher, M., Turubanova, S. A., Tyukavina, A., et al. (2013). High-resolution global maps of 21st-century forest cover change. Science 342, 850–853. doi:10.1126/science.1244693.

Laso Bayas, J.C., See, L., Georgieva, I. et al. Drivers of tropical forest loss between 2008 and 2019. Sci Data 9, 146 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-022-01227-3

Dataset available in IIASA PURE:

https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/id/eprint/17539/