Intact Forest Landscapes

The last remaining unfragmented forest landscapes, large enough to retain all native biodiversity and showing no signs of human alteration as of the year 2013

  • Source: Greenpeace/UMD/WRI/Transparent World/WWF Russia

The Intact Forest Landscapes (IFL) data set identifies unbroken expanses of natural ecosystems within the zone of forest extent that show no signs of significant human activity and are large enough that all native biodiversity, including viable populations of wide-ranging species, could be maintained. To map IFL areas, a set of criteria was developed and designed to be globally applicable and easily replicable, the latter to allow for repeated assessments over time as well as verification. IFL areas were defined as unfragmented landscapes, at least 50,000 ha in size, and with a minimum width of 10 km. These were then mapped from Landsat satellite imagery for the year 2000. Changes in the extent of IFLs were identified within year 2000 IFL boundary using the global wall-to-wall Landsat image composite for year 2013 and the global forest cover loss data set (Hansen et al. 2013). Areas identified as “reduction in extent” met the IFL criteria in 2000 but no longer met the criteria in 2013. The main causes of change were clearing for agriculture and tree plantations, industrial activity such as logging and mining, fragmentation due to infrastructure and new roads, and fires assumed to be caused by humans. These data can be used to assess forest intactness, alteration, and degradation at global and regional scales. Resource Watch shows only a subset of the data set. For access to the full data set and additional information, see the Learn More link.

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Formal name

Intact Forest Landscapes (IFL)


The world IFL map was created through visual interpretation of Landsat images by experts. The map may contain inaccuracies due to limitations in the spatial resolution of the imagery and lack of ancillary information about local land-use practices in some regions. In addition, the methodology assumes that fires in proximity to roads or other infrastructure may have been caused by humans and therefore constitute a form of anthropogenic disturbance. This assumption could result in an underestimation of IFL extent in the boreal biome.

Suggested citation

(1) Greenpeace, University of Maryland, World Resources Institute, and Transparent World. “Intact Forest Landscapes. 2000/2013.” 2014. Accessed through Resource Watch, (date).

(2) Potapov P., Yaroshenko A., Turubanova S., Dubinin M., Laestadius L., Thies C., Aksenov D., Egorov A., Yesipova Y., Glushkov I., Karpachevskiy M., Kostikova A., Manisha A., Tsybikova E., Zhuravleva I. 2008. Mapping the World's Intact Forest Landscapes by Remote Sensing. Ecology and Society, 13 (2). Accessed through Resource Watch, (date).


University of Maryland (UMD)
World Resources Institute (WRI)
Transparent World (Transparent World)
World Wildlife Fund Russia (WWF Russia)

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