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Forest change mapped by Google Earth

RATE THIS! +44
Posted in Science on 15th Nov, 2013 03:07 AM by AlexMuller

A new high-resolution global map of forest loss and gain has been created with the help of Google Earth.

 
The interactive online tool is publicly available and zooms in to a remarkably high level of local detail - a resolution of 30m. It charts the story of the world's tree canopies from 2000 to 2012, based on 650,000 satellite images by Landsat 7. In that time, the Earth lost a combined "forest" the size of Mongolia, enough trees to cover the UK six times.
 
Brazil's progress in reducing deforestation was more than offset by losses in Indonesia, Malaysia, Paraguay and Angola, according to a study in the journal Science.
 
"This is the first map of forest change that is globally consistent and locally relevant," said Prof Matthew Hansen of the University of Maryland, who led the project team which developed the map.
 
"What would have taken a single computer 15 years to perform was completed in a matter of days using Google Earth Engine computing."
 
Their study reports a number of key findings on forest change from 2000-2012 - based on the satellite imagery.
 
The Earth lost 2.3 million square kilometres of tree cover in that period, due to logging, fire, disease or storms.
 
But the planet also gained 800,000 sq km of new forest, a net loss of 1.5 million sq km in total.
 
Brazil showed the best improvement of any country, cutting annual forest loss in half between 2003-04 and 2010-11.

Tags: GooglemapsforestenvironmentnatureGoogle Earthbiology

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-15
+1
This will make it easer to monitor forests and changes and direct action to places that need it most Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-15
+0
This is great news for countries where forests are being reduced and huge resouces would be needed to provide usable records Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-15
+0
Data about Sumatra’s forest loss have been collected for over a decade but has lacked an easy way to share them with the public... Sumatra has one of the world’s fastest rates of deforestation. These maps provide the desperately needed transparency on conservation values and drivers of their loss
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-15
+0
Lessons from Brazil's success in reducing forest loss may help efforts in Sumatra and change the trend Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-15
+0
It is also important to find out reasons that cause the forest losses - maps combined with other information could help
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-15
+1
They report some reasons related to losses in the tropics. It seems that the loss was primarily due to logging, urban development, strip mining, and other human impacts
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-15
+1
The climate change could also play a role in deforestation and events such as fires, earthquakes, and other natural disasters may contribute
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-15
+0
This is definitely very important point and also the effect of forests on climate Reply
Reply
Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-15
+1
Great achievement for Google. Producing super-detailed maps like these would have been impossible without Google's massive computer power Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-15
+0
The next important step would be to use the data to guage exactly what this deforestation means for climate change
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-15
+0
This very relevant. Trees are one of the largest "sinks" for carbon dioxide and forests absorb a third of the carbon released by burning fossil fuels
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-15
+0
Loosing forests could be a major factors to mass extinction of many species
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-15
+0
And for now, extinct is forever. The loss that can not be replaced easily. The climate change is also global Reply
Reply
Reply
Reply


 

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