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Powered by Google. Online monitoring system tracks global deforestation

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
2/24/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The world has lost 230 million hectares of trees between 2000 and 2012

Global Forest Watch, or GFW is a new global monitoring system has been launched that promises "near real time" information on deforestation around the world. Backed by Google and over 40 business and campaigning groups, GFW will hopefully draw attention to the loss of the world's forests. Data from Google and the University of Maryland says the world lost 230 million hectares of trees between 2000 and 2012.

Tree losses and alerts can be sent out to a network of partners and citizens around the world who can take action.

Tree losses and alerts can be sent out to a network of partners and citizens around the world who can take action.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
2/24/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Global Forest Watch, deforestation, green, global tracking, NASA,


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Hundreds of millions of satellite images are used in the program, in addition to data from the international community.

Big Business, usually seen as the villains in terms of environmental issues, is in fact welcoming the new database. They say GFW could help them prove that their products are sustainable.

You,. too can light up the darkness by going here --

One of the big problems in dealing with deforestation is the lack of accurate information. Over the same time period as all these trees were lost, around 800,000 square kilo0meters of new forest was planted.

In order to correct this, the U.S. based World Resources Institute has led the development of GFW, using half a billion high resolution images from NASA's Landsat program.

The system uses the cloud computing power of the Google Earth Engine, the Google Maps Engine and new algorithms developed by the University of Maryland.

Data on tropical forests at a resolution of 500 meter is updated monthly as high resolution images of global tree loss and gain are updated annually.

"Global Forest Watch is a near-real time monitoring platform that will fundamentally change the way people and businesses manage forests," Dr. Andrew Steer from the institute says.

"From now on, the bad guys cannot hide and the good guys will be recognized for their stewardship."

The technology is described as being easy to use and will incorporate information showing protected areas, logging, mining and palm oil concessions and daily forest fire alerts from NASA.

Indigenous groups have been quick to take up the cause. The Paiter Surui people in Brazil are already using smart phones and GPS software to monitor illegal logging.

For governments in countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia, the technology could be useful in helping enforce the laws on logging that are often flouted.

Tree losses and alerts can be sent out to a network of partners and citizens around the world who can take action.

Some of the large businesses backing GFW include Nestle and Unilever.

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