Monitoring forests in real time

A few months ago I mentioned a new project that has mapped the world’s forests using satellite imagery. Here’s another project that’s putting similar technology to immediate use: Global Forest Watch.

Keeping the world’s great forests standing is one of the top level goals on the climate change agenda – about a fifth of the world’s carbon emissions are from deforestation, which is a bigger contribution than transport. Forests are carbon sinks, but when they are cut down or burned, that carbon is released and they become a net contributor to climate change. That switch from being carbon positive to a source of emissions makes deforestation a double hazard.

The trouble is, it’s often hard to tell where there is a problem until it’s too late. The largest forests, in the Amazon or the Congo, are spread over huge areas and are very hard to police. That’s where mapping technology is useful. Global Forest Watch uses satellite data to monitor the world’s forests and can issue alerts when changes are detected. It also allows people to report deforestation in their own areas. Here’s the video introduction:



2 Comments on “Monitoring forests in real time”

  1. Equillibrium March 25, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

    Brilliant! What a good use of satellite imagery… good direction to be heading in, holding PRP’s responsible instead of hiding in the supply chain.


  1. Listening to the rainforest | Make Wealth History - August 4, 2014

    […] few months ago I wrote about how satellite data is being used to keep an eye on the world’s forests, and identify illegal logging. Global Forest Watch is a great project, but it can only display the […]

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