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Humanity turns back its march towards deforestation

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 18th, 2013
Catholic Online (

It's been awhile since we've heard any positive ecological news, hasn't it? It's global warming, climate change, floods, typhoons and earthquakes - Finally, a bright spot. A new satellite photo has proved that the world and humanity has stopped its relentless march to deforestation. According to scientists affiliated with Google Earth, deforestation over the past 12 years has only been 0.6 percent.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The relatively slow modern losses in world forest area are being offset by ongoing increases in forest density. There have been sweeping changes in forest management in many nations. Trees today are taller and more thickly planted - so much so that the actual amount of carbon locked up in them is going up. Scientists are calling the phenomenon the "Great Reversal" for the world's forests.

Google Earth has partnered with U.S. government scientists to produce dramatic satellite maps showing how the area of the world covered by forests has changed across the years 2000 to 2012.

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It was noted that in the year 2000, some 32,688,000 square kilometers of the planet was covered by forests. Over the next 12 years, 2.3 million square kilometers of forest was lost, but 0.8m was actually gained. Overall the loss was 1.5m square kilometers, representing an annual loss of approximately 0.6 per cent.

Brazil, which started off losing 0.04 million square kilometers, or a thousandth of the world forest area annually - but by 2012, due to making use of the same free Landsat data that the Googlers and boffins employed in the study, Brazil's government had managed to cut its deforestation to half that.

Other governments didn't do so well, with Indonesia, Russia and some central African nations coming in for stern reprimands in press releases accompanying the publication of the new research.

So - for those of us who like to hug a tree now and then - this is definitely a positive development!

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