1. Where does the data come from?
The OTP compiles information about forest operations from three sources: government agencies, logging companies and third-party organizations.
(1) Government agencies in producer countries provide details on forest concessions, such as geographic boundaries, forest concession names, initial year of exploitation, as well as the names of the registered logging companies that operate in forest concessions within their country. This is largely drawn from data compiled in the Forest Atlases.
(2) All of the registered logging companies operating in producer countries are listed on the OTP website. These companies are then able to voluntarily register their profile and upload key documents to demonstrate compliance with the legal framework of the country that they operate in.
(3) Third-party organizations include independent monitors (IMs), both mandated or nonmandated, as well as other civil society groups and nongovernment organizations at the local and international level. These organizations are able to upload observations of suspected noncompliance, provided that they are supported by evidence. In some cases, observations are validated by an official reading committee. See our section below on IMs to find out more about how they operate.
(4) Data from Global Forest Watch on forest cover and tree cover loss over time as well as on protected areas. This data also includes weekly Global Land Analysis and Discover (GLAD) tree cover loss alerts.
2. How accurate is the data in the OTP?
For the data submitted by companies, the OTP has put in place a two-step validation process, where an initial review of the submissions is conducted to ensure that the content is legible, of sufficient quality and categorized correctly. This is followed by a secondary review to verify the content and the quality of the information provided. Company documents are also reviewed by external experts periodically.
For the data submitted by third-party organizations, there are two levels of quality control. First, WRI staff and local partners from IM organizations review the completion of the submission (forms must include evidence and correct legal references). This is followed by a secondary review, where the content of the submission is reviewed, and comments to improve the quality of the submission are sent back to the IM organization.
WRI and its partners strive to keep the website up to date as much as possible, however we cannot guarantee that the data on the site is up to date at the time of access.
WRI is not liable for any inaccuracies with the data available on the Open Timber Portal. To find out more, please take a look at our Terms of Service.
3. How is the transparency ranking calculated?
To make data on the OTP easily accessible and understandable for users, companies are ranked on the basis of their level of voluntary disclosure. For each producer, a transparency score is calculated based on the percentage of documents shared on the OTP out of the total number of documents requested.
4. What’s an “IM” or independent monitor and what do they do?
An independent monitor (“IM”) is a non-governmental organization that analyzes and reports on forest governance and management, as well as the harvest and transport of timber. The FLEGT VPA process creates an explicit role for IMs to oversee implementation of the agreement and verify compliance in the producer country.
Usually, when mandated, the IM works under an agreement with the host country government. Its findings are in many countries validated by a reading committee that includes donors and other stakeholders, typically chaired by the national forest authority.
Within the OTP, mandated IMs can enter instances of suspected noncompliance by companies and/or by government actors. These observations will need to be validated by the reading committee before they can be published on the OTP website.
Nonmandated IMs can be NGOs and civil society organizations that work on forest protection and community rights but do not have an official agreement with the government of the country to conduct missions to monitor the implementation of the FLEGT VPAs.
Observations from nonmandated IMs can be uploaded by these organizations directly onto the OTP website. These are then reviewed for validation by WRI staff and local partners.
5. How is the severity of observations/infractions calculated?
To assist OTP users in understanding the relative importance or severity of an observation on illegal logging or a forest governance problem, WRI and its partners have developed severity parameters for each observation category in collaboration with IMs.
Take a look at the Assessing severity of observations section, which will provide an in-depth explanation on how the severity parameters used were defined.
6. How often is the data updated?
Companies and third-party organizations are regularly uploading new information on the OTP.
7. What are GLAD alerts?
While the data from Global Forest Watch displays tree cover loss over time, GLAD alerts provide information on tree clearings as they happen. Alerts are updated weekly and allow for near-real time data on tree cover loss. For more information on the GLAD alerts, go to https://glad.geog.umd.edu/.
8. What is the difference between the OTP and other tools that support due diligence (SPOTT, Timber Trade Portal, NEPCON Sourcing Hub and BVRio)?
In collaboration with the organizations that have created these tools, we have developed a joint flyer that provides a brief description of each of these tools and their geographical focus. You can also access these directly from our Tools and Resources section.
9. Will the OTP expand to other countries?
The OTP will eventually be adaptable to and deployed in any country that manages natural forest areas through long-term forest management concessions. Currently, the OTP contains data about forest operations in the DRC, Congo and Cameroon. Data on forest operations in Gabon and CAR will be released on the OTP by the end of 2020.
Observations of suspected infractions submitted by third-party organizations, however, are not limited to any specific country and users will be able to access data from around the globe.
10. Can I download the data from the OTP website?
The OTP does not allow users to download company profiles or observations from third-party organizations, however, all documents published on the website can be individually accessed and downloaded.