Vanishing Tropical Rainforests

Country/area: United Kingdom

Organisation: Reuters

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 27/10/2021

Credit: Ally J. Levine, Marco Hernandez, Jake Spring

Biography: The Reuters graphics team publishes visual stories and data. We typically cover all areas of the news, with content ranging from climate to financial markets. The team conceptualises, researches, reports, and executes many of the visual stories published.

Project description:

Tropical rainforests are home to at least half the world’s living species, and feature rainfall throughout the year. Yet humans are these spaces faster than any other type of woodland. The destruction of tropical rainforests is so vast that it is difficult for humans to imagine.

On this project, Reuters employed 3D models and animation to drive home the shocking scale of area lost between 2002 and 2019, according to data released by Rainforest Foundation Norway. This data-led visual story makes an accessible entry for readers to understand the scale of deforestation taking place all over the world.

Impact reached:

The story drew attention to the devastating pace and extent of deforestation around the world. A written article couldn’t fully translate the full magnitude and scale of rainforest loss.. The article was widely shared on social media and pointed towards how humans are destroying these areas faster than any other type of woodland.

Techniques/technologies used:

We used Cinema 4D for the models and animation with Adobe After Effects as our main video production tool. We used Javascript, HTML and CSS for the building the styling of the page and Adobe illustrator for visuals styling. In addition to this we used Lottie for the animations on the page.

What was the hardest part of this project?

The biggest challenge was calculating averages across different time periods using the Rainforest Foundation Norway data as a base, in order to create the opening animation accurately. Structuring the narrative in a way to make all of the complex information digestible and to drive home the shocking scale of the rainforest loss was also difficult.

What can others learn from this project?

Data can be presented in interesting and compelling formats beyond standard abstract charting. Showing readers what something looks like in real time or in a real scale can have a much greater impact.

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