GloF-DAS Q2 2012. Background layer courtesy of Google Earth.
NASA satellites picked up extensive signals of potential deforestation across large parts of the tropics between April 1 and June 30, according to the latest update on Mongabay.com’s Global Forest Disturbance Alert System (GloF-DAS).
Areas with a particularly large number of potential deforestation signals include Colombia, Ecuador, and Paraguay in Latin America; Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Gabon in Africa; and Russia, India, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia in Asia; and northwestern North America.
The 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 policymakers, civil society, local communities, and academics.
Deforestation for palm oil in Borneo
GloF-DAS was developed in partnership with Cal State Monterey Bay and NASA Ames Research Center.
GloF-DAS data is now downloadable for use in maps and other applications.
(07/15/2012) Indonesia and Malaysia lost more than 11 million hectares (42,470 square miles) of forest between 2000 and 2010, according to a study published last year in the journal Global Change Biology. The area is roughly the size of Denmark or the state of Virginia. The bulk of forest loss occurred in lowland forests, which declined by 7.8 million hectares or 11 percent on 2000 cover. Peat swamp forests lost the highest percentage of cover, declining 19.7 percent. Lowland forests have historically been first targeted by loggers before being converted for agriculture. Peatlands are increasingly converted for industrial oil palm estates and pulp and paper plantations.
(07/11/2012) Efforts to rapidly and accurately track deforestation and forest degradation in Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru got a boost this week with a special technical training session organized by the Governors Climate and Forest Task Force. The meeting, convened at Stanford University and Google’s Silicon Valley campus, paired staffers from government agencies and NGOs in the four tropical countries with technical experts from the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM), the Carnegie Institution for Science, the Forum on Readiness for REDD, Woods Hole Research Center, and Google Earth Outreach. The participants received training to augment existing deforestation, forest degradation and biomass monitoring capabilities, which are highly variable both between countries and within sub-national agencies and jurisdictions.
(07/10/2012) Inexpensive aerial drones can help conservationists map forests, monitor land use change like deforestation, and track wildlife in remote and inaccessible areas, reports a new study published in the journal Tropical Conservation Science.
(05/30/2012) Mongabay.com is pleased to announce the beta version of a global forest disturbance alert system (GloF-DAS) developed in partnership with Cal State Monterey Bay and NASA Ames Research Center. The tool offers the potential to pinpoint areas that are being deforested on a quarterly basis.
(10/24/2011) High above the Amazon rainforest in Peru, a team of scientists and technicians is conducting an ambitious experiment: a biological survey of a never-before-explored tract of remote and inaccessible cloud forest. They are doing so using an advanced system that enables them to map the three-dimensional physical structure of the forest as well as its chemical and optical properties. The scientists hope to determine not only what species may lie below but also how the ecosystem is responding to last year’s drought—the worst ever recorded in the Amazon—as well as help Peru develop a better mechanism for monitoring deforestation and degradation.