New online tool tracks tree loss in 'near real time'
A new global monitoring system has been launched that promises "near real time" information on deforestation around the world. Global Forest Watch (GFW) is backed by Google and over 40 business and campaigning groups. It uses information from hundreds of millions of satellite images as well as data from people on the ground.
Businesses have welcomed the new database as it could help them prove that their products are sustainable. Despite greater awareness around of the world of the impacts of deforestation, the scale of forest loss since 2000 has been significant - Data from Google and the University of Maryland says the world lost 230 million hectares of trees between 2000 and 2012.
Forest campaigners say this is the equivalent of 50 football fields of trees being cut down, every minute of every day over the past 12 years.
One of the big problems in dealing with tree loss has been a lack of accurate information. Over the same time period as all these trees were lost, around 800,000 sq km of new forest was planted.