climate change conservation technology

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:



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