By tracking who legally owns the world’s forests, RRI is able to assess advances and setbacks for Indigenous Peoples’ and communities’ land rights

In order to measure the global progress on its two targets, RRI tracks the ownership of the world’s forests from both a quantitative and a qualitative perspective.

RRI’s forest tenure database is now accessible through the Tenure Data Tool. This interactive tool makes it easy to compare changes in legal forest ownership from 2002 to 2013 between countries, regions, and lower- and middle-income countries. You can access the tool here.

The quantitative approach monitors spatial forest tenure data—that is, who owns how many hectares of a given forest. RRI recognizes four categories of land ownership: owned by Indigenous Peoples and local communities, designated for Indigenous Peoples and local communities, administered by governments, and owned by individuals and private firms. Learn more about these categories here. Our statutory forest dataset currently covers 52 countries containing nearly 90% of the world’s forests.

As a complement to the spatial data, the qualitative approach—also known as the “bundle of rights”— analyzes the national laws that govern community forest rights. This “bundle” includes rights such as: the right to use or sell forest resources like timber and fruit, the right to exclude outsiders, and the right to own land indefinitely. This qualitative dataset currently covers 27 countries, containing approximately 75% of the world’s tropical forests.


RRI continuously updates and expands the data from both methodologies. To learn more about the evolution of RRI’s tenure data and how it is used, click here.

We invite readers to send feedback on the accuracy, relevance, and comprehensiveness of the data presented in RRI’s reports and website by contacting