Forest & Landscape Water Ecosystem Services (FL-WES) Tool

Forest-Water Nexus

Q: What are forest-water relationships?

A: Forests are integral to the water cycle. They regulate streamflow, influence the water supply, support groundwater recharge and contribute to cloud generation and precipitation. Forests act as natural water purifiers, improving water quality. They can also reduce the risk of water related hazards, such as landslides, local floods and droughts.


Q: Why is it important to monitor forest-water relationships?

A: Monitoring forest-water interactions increases the understanding of factors that influence these dynamic relationships, which in turn inform management and policy decisions. It provides information on whether the intervention objectives have been met and if they are effective.


Tool functions

Q: How do I log in?

A: Click on the "Log in" button on the upper right-hand side corner of your screen. If you do not have an account, you can create one or choose a single sign-on.

After logging out, you can still log back in without entering your credentials within 1 hour. After this period, your credentials are needed to log in.


Q: How do I create and save a project?

A: Click on the "Create project" button on the left panel of your screen and enter with the information needed. Click on the "Summit" button and your project will be saved. You will be able to access your saved project on the left panel, under the "My Forest-Water Projects" tab.

Only registered users can access this feature.


Q: What are context variables and how do I save them?

A: Context Variables are important information of your project related to its location and context, such as vegetation, land use, precipitation and air temperature. Any information entered/changed in the Project Context Variables window is automatically saved.

Only registered users can access this feature.


Q: How do I edit a location?

A: It is not possible to edit a location. If a polygon needs to be edited, we recommend deleting it and creating a new one.


Q: How do I access Earth Map?

A: By clicking the link to launch the Earth Map page, you will be asked to enter your Google account information. For further information on how to use Earth Map, access the Earth Map Help Center. Earth Map may ask you to follow additional steps as you must use a Google account that has been approved for use with Google Earth Engine (GEE) in order to use Earth Map.

Only registered users can access this feature.


Q: What is Earth Map for?

You may use Earth Map to conduct analyses related to your location(s) for various metrics (layers) that are relevant to your FL-WES project context variables. It will provide you with data related to your project location. This is particularly important for estimating baseline data, and if no other information is available. You will then be able to use this information when filling in the guidance survey.


Tool content

Q: What is the best browser for the application?

A: The tool works using all common browsers, such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Edge and Mozilla Firefox. Mozilla Firefox is recommended.


Q: Do I need an account to use the FL-WES tool?

A: No, you can use the FL-WES tool as a guest user; however, you will have limited functionality. You will have access to the Guidance Survey and your Priority Indicators. You can create an account if you would like to use the full capabilities of the FL-WES tool.


Q: Is it free to create a FL-WES account? Can I access all the tool content?

A: Yes, the FL-WES account is free and it provides complete access to tool content and functionality.


Q: What is the difference between a guest user and a registered user?

A: Guest users can complete the Guidance Survey and obtain their Priority Indicators. However, this information will not be saved once the window is closed. Registered users have access to all the tool content. They can create projects, save the results of the survey, include context information, download datasheets and conduct further analyses using Earth Map.


Q: As a guest-user, will my Guidance Survey be saved for later access?

A: No, the Guidance Survey responses and your priority indicators will not be available once you close the window. Only registered users have access to this feature.


Q: Is providing a user profile mandatory?

A: No, the user profile is not mandatory. It is merely a way for us to better know our users in order to continuously improve the FL-WES tool.

Only registered users can access this feature.


Q: How many projects can I create under the same account?

A: You can create as many projects as you wish. There is no limit to the number of projects.


Q: What is the difference between all indicators and priority indicators?

A: All indicators are the full set of indicators that make the Forest-Water Monitoring Framework. The priority indicators are the results based on the information entered in the Guidance Survey.


Q: What is the scale of Budget, Human Capacity, Time, Accuracy and Technology? What is the minimum scale?

A: The scale is based on a comparison among the methodologies available in the tool. The minimum scale is 1 (low) and the maximum is 3 (high).


Q: Why do I keep getting "desk study" in the methodologies?

A: Desk study is the use of available data from national, regional, or local organizations as well as relevant scholarly literature, publicly available datasets, global, national, regional, or local publications. It is the most cost-effective and requires the least amount of technical capacity. Desk studies are recommended to provide background information, as well as site-specific and contextual information that can be triangulated with other methodologies. Due to its general and universal usefulness, desk study appears as a methodology for all indicators


Q: Are the Context Variables, the Location and the Survey linked?

A: Yes, provided that the information for the context variables, location and survey have been entered for the same project.


Q: Which information influences the result of my priority indicators?

A: The result of your priority indicators depends on the Survey Guidance responses.


Q: Does the data entered in the Context Variables and Project location section change the result of my Priority Indicators?

A: No. Only the information entered in your Survey Guidance can change the result of your Priority Indicators. However, knowing the information for the context variables will likely improve how you answer the guidance survey, which will lead to more accurate results.

Only registered users can access the Context Variables and the Project locations.


Q: Can I print or export the results of the survey?

A: No, these functions are not available within the tool. However, you can print it using your browser's print options.


Q: What is the difference between Monitoring to prioritize, Monitoring to consider and Monitoring in progress?

A: The variables you should monitor in your area of interest are divided into two categories: Monitoring to prioritize, which are high priority variables, and Monitoring to consider (second priority variables). The variables you are already addressing in your monitoring program are included in the Monitoring in progress.


Q: What are the data sheets for? Are they available for all methods?

A: The datasheets are meant to provide guidance and additional information on specific field methodologies, as well as to support data collection. They can be downloaded and adapted to your needs. They are not available for all methodologies; however, new datasheets will be made available based on user needs.


Q: What is the advantage of using the Geospatial Analysis via Earth Map?

A: Earth Map can help inform and populate project context variables in the FL-WES tool though the analysis of your project locations and global data layers, such as biodiversity, land cover, precipitation and temperature.

Only registered users can access this feature.


Q: Can I upload the geospatial data files (.shp, .kml etc) for my location?

A: This function is not available in the tool. The FL-WES tool only allows you to create a polygon on the project location tab in order to analyze it. However, it is possible to upload a shapefile, geoJson or KML, of your location using Earth Map.


Q: How can I cancel my account?

A: You can cancel your account through the button in the personal profile section or you can email us at [email protected]


If you have any questions that weren't answered, we would like to hear from you! Please contact us through our email: [email protected]