NASA data registers strong deforestation signals in Sumatra, Borneo, Brazil, Gabon

January 29, 2013

GloF-DAS alerts in Sumatra

NASA satellites picked up signals of extensive potential deforestation in Sumatra, Borneo, Central Africa, the Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon, the Chocó in Colombia and Ecuador, and the Chaco region of Paraguay between October 1 and December 31, 2012, according to the latest update on Mongabay.com's Global Forest Disturbance Alert System (GloF-DAS).

Deforestation signals were particularly strong on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, where large areas of forest have been converted for palm oil and pulp and paper production in recent years. In Africa, Gabon was riddled with potential deforestation hotspots, as was the western part of the Republic of Congo.

Close-up on potential deforestation hotspots in Sumatra

GloF-DAS relies on NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor to detect changes in forest greenness cover relative to the year-earlier period. It registers change when more than 40 percent of a five by five kilometer surrounding forest area has lost greenness over the previous 12 months. Seasonal variation is generally mitigated through the product's quarterly baseline, although changes in some parts of the world, like boreal regions, can be affected by snow and ice distribution.

The tool can help highlight areas where deforestation and forest degradation is occurring on a quarterly basis, potentially providing insight to authorities, policymakers, civil society, local communities, and academics.

GloF-DAS was developed in partnership with Cal State Monterey Bay and NASA Ames Research Center.

GloF-DAS data is downloadable for use in maps and other applications.

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mongabay.com (January 29, 2013).

NASA data registers strong deforestation signals in Sumatra, Borneo, Brazil, Gabon.