Intern, Global Forest Watch Research

World Resources Institute
  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
  • Posted
    Aug 31

Position description

World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, nonprofit global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. We are working to address six critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade in order to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water and sustainable cities.

Internships at WRI provide opportunities for motivated, young professionals to learn from our experts and participate in engaging work at the intersection of environment and development. WRI provides many internship opportunities throughout the year in all our programs and offices. We seek interns with diverse backgrounds and who are passionate about the environment to help us make a direct global impact.

WRI is committed to advancing gender and social equity for human well-being in our mission and applies this principle to our organizational and programmatic practices. 


As part of the Forests Program, Global Forest Watch ( is a leading provider of independent data and analysis about the state of forests globally and how they are changing. Key features of GFW include: satellite-based monitoring of global forest change (including annual forest loss updates and weekly deforestation alerts); open access to hundreds of geospatial datasets relating to forests, from protected areas to logging concessions to biodiversity values; and easy-to-use online tools for data visualization, analysis, and download. In addition to information on the biophysical aspects of forests (e.g. deforestation/degradation, biodiversity, productivity), we also aim to include more spatial data and national statistics on the human dimensions of forests (e.g. livelihoods, health, gender equity, governance, conflict, resource rights and access). The intern will conduct research and gather information to inform the development of a road map for integrating additional socioeconomic data and analysis into the platform and related knowledge products.  This information will also be used in the development of impact indicators for monitoring and evaluation purposes.

Internship Summary

WRI’s Forests Program seeks an independent, well-organized and detail-oriented intern to support research related to the human dimensions of forest change. This research will be used to provide data, analysis and insights on the relationships between forests and people to WRI’s external audiences through our Global Forest Watch platform, as well as to inform the development of social indicators to monitor and evaluate our own work.

Learning Outcomes

The intern will have the opportunity to carry out the following tasks:

  • Conduct a literature review to better understand the current body of research on the relationships between human wellbeing and deforestation, degradation, halting deforestation, and restoration
  • Identify and collect social and economic data related to forest use, governance, and values, and evaluate which data sets are most relevant for forest conservation and restoration in relation to biophysical forest data on GFW, and which data might be relevant for monitoring the impact of GFW
  • Support a needs assessment by developing survey questions and identifying and interviewing likely users of this data, to understand use cases and target audiences, including the usefulness of this data for GFW's own monitoring
  • Support the creation of criteria for including socioeconomic data on GFW
  • Identify data gaps and challenges in relation to adding socioeconomic data to GFW, and provide suggestions on how to address these
  • Prepare data for posting on the GFW platform by digitizing static maps and standardizing and cleaning data, in collaboration with GFW’s GIS and platform teams
  • Conduct some preliminary analysis of the data and information, which may be presented in a blog post, infographic, or other communications product

The intern will gain experience in the following areas:

  • GIS analysis
  • Developing online map-based platforms
  • Conducting online research
  • Assisting in organizing and analyzing data
  • Developing monitoring and evaluation indicators



  • Undergraduate degree in international relations, environmental science, geography, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or a related field;
  • Academic or professional experience with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software and online, interactive map-based platforms;
  • Strong written and oral communications skills in English;
  • Proven interest in environmental and international development issues;
  • Excellent organizational skills with ability to juggle multiple projects and responsibilities;
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively in a fast-paced office environment, both independently and as part of a team;
  • Strong online research and computer skills;
  • Flexible, highly responsible, articulate, self-motivated, with a good sense of humor.
  • Applicants must have personal health insurance coverage.
  • U.S. work authorization is required for this opportunity. WRI does not sponsor interns for visas.


  • Master’s degree in one of the disciplines above;
  • Proficiency in French, Spanish, Portuguese, or Indonesian.

Compensation: This is a paid internship.

Duration: This is a three to five-month internship with flexible start and end dates (May through September) based on the student’s availability

Application instructions

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