Open access spatial data for global forest cover change reveals the dynamics of de- and re- forestation for the first decade of the 21st century.
Forest lost and gain data for the entire globe is now freely available, and in an accessible way for the general public. The Landsat satellite images reveal striking data on the trends of forest lost across countries and eco regions. A total of 2.3 million km2 of forests were lost worldwide between 2000 and 2012, and Tropical forests, especially South American forests, make up to 32% of the total forest lost, with a scaring deforestation rate of 2,101 km2 per year. Brazil’s policies against deforestation in the Amazon forest are thought to be the ones responsible for the fact the country had the largest decline in deforestation rate, amongst all other countries in the globe. Although Brazil is still in the second place in terms of gross forest lost, the recorded decrease in forest loss is definitely good news.
The work, published last November in Science, is now available at: http://earthenginepartners.appspot.com/science-2013-global-forest. The study resulted from the collaboration between the University of Maryland, State University of New York, USGS, Geographic Information Science Center of Excellence NASA, and Google Inc.