Econintersect: A global forestation study project has mapped changes around the globe between 2000-2012. The study coordinated by the University of Maryland used a time-series analysis of 654,178 Landsat images. The results have been published in Science in a paper authored by 15 individuals from five universities and research organizations. While the net has been a loss of forestation, there are areas where forestation has increased.
From a press release from the University of Maryland:
In a new study, the team of 15 university, Google and government researchers reports a global loss of 2.3 million square kilometers (888,000 square miles) of forest between 2000 and 2012 and a gain of 800,000 square kilometers (309,000 square miles) of new forest.
The same press release gave an example of how deforestation reduction in one area has been offset by increases elsewhere:
Brazil’s well-documented reduction in deforestation during the last decade was more than offset by increasing forest loss in Indonesia, Malaysia, Paraguay, Bolivia, Zambia, Angola and elsewhere.
The map produced by the study and the map legend are shown below. Click on either for larger images.
Click on map or legend for larger image.
For more detail about forestation in the lower-48 states of the U.S. NASA produced a map in 2010 which produced a characterization of forestation based on canopy height.
Click on map for larger image.
There appears to be little excuse now for claiming we cannot “see the forest for the trees”.
- UMD Leads 1st Local-to-Global Mapping of Forest (Lee Tune and Laura Ours, UMD Right Now, 14 November 2013)
- High-Resolution Global Maps of 21st-Century Forest Cover Change (M.C. Hansen et al, Science, Vol. 342, No. 6160, 15 November 2013)
- First-of-its-Kind Map Depicts Global Forest Heights (NASA, 20 July 2010)
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