Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

Global forest change mapped

  • Written by  Harley Rustad
  • Published in Mapping
Global forest change mapped Shutterstock
01 Jan
2014
A team led by researchers from the University of Maryland has produced the first high-resolution map of global forest extent, loss and gain

It processed more than 650,000 Landsat 7 satellite images from between 1999 and 2012 using Google Earth Engine. The resulting maps enabled changes in forest and other land cover to be quantified.

The maps showed that 2.3 million square kilometres of forest was lost between 2000 and 2012, and only 800,000 square kilometres gained. Paraguay, Malaysia and Cambodia had the highest rates of forest loss, with Paraguay having the highest ratio of forest loss to gain. Brazil showed the largest decline in annual forest loss, which halved from a high of about 40,000 square kilometres in 2003–04 to 20,000 square kilometres in 2010–11.

forestImage: University of Maryland

‘Brazil used Landsat data to document its deforestation trends, then used this information in its policy formulation and implementation. They also shared these data, allowing others to assess and confirm their success,’ said lead author Matthew Hansen. ‘Such data have not been generically available for other parts of the world. Now, with our global mapping of forest changes every nation has access to this kind of information, for their own country and the rest of the world.’

This story was published in the January 2014 edition of Geographical Magazine

Related items

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in PLACES...

Forests

The impacts of deforestation are wide ranging. But while some…

Places

Community trekking is the latest development to emerge from the…

Cities

Scientists are using sophisticated data modelling to predict how cities…

Places

The most populated country of Central Asia, Uzbekistan has been…

Forests

To protect the forests that act as natural carbon reservoirs,…

Forests

Recent research finds that climate change-induced drought is having a…

Cities

The city of Calais struggles with its reputation. More often…

Mapping

Benjamin Hennig and Tina Gotthardt map the coronavirus

Water

The controversial practice of cloud-seeding has always been difficult to…

Forests

The impact of wildfires on water supplies has received little…

Mapping

Benjamin Hennig maps the two sides of global malnutrition –…

Cities

Thomas Bird reports on the coronavirus, speaking to those trapped…

Forests

The world’s second largest tropical forest receives significantly less funding…

Cities

The world’s first water-borne dairy farm has been erected on…

Cities

Continental Europe’s most extensive underground rail transport network, the Madrid…

Cities

A central highway in Brazil’s largest city is about to…

Cities

Urban photography marries themes and passages from TS Eliot in…

Mapping

From Leonardo da Vinci’s genius and the history of Starbucks,…

Mapping

How do you usually travel to work? Question 41 in…

Water

The Nile is home to mysteries both ancient and modern…