Forest disturbance in Madagascar and Vietnam increased significantly in the aftermath of cyclones that hit the countries last year, according to a forest tracking tool developed by a team of NASA researchers.
NASA’s Quarterly Indicator of Cover Change (QUICC), a MODIS satellite-based product that underpins Mongabay.com’s Global Forest Disturbance Alert System (GloF-DAS), detected substantial woodland disturbance in the landfall path of Typhoon Haiyan in central Vietnam and Cyclone Haruna in the southwestern coastal region of Madagascar.
The tool also detected unusual forest cover change indicative of deforestation in Cambodia and Papua New Guinea according to Christopher Potter, a Senior Research Scientist at NASA Ames Research Center who co-led development of the tool.
GloF-DAS forest disturbance hotspots in Indonesia-Malaysia.
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 in all forest and woodland areas that have lost at least 40 percent of their green vegetation cover over the past year. 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 a partnership between NASA Ames Research Center, Cal State Monterey Bay, and Mongabay.com.