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Global Forest Watch Monitors Deforestation Almost in Real Time

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global-forest-watch-deforestation-map4.jpg.662x0_q100_crop-scaleGlobal Forest Watch is a new interactive online tool, which helps monitoring and management of world’s forest cover. Backed by Google, UNEP and USAid among others, the system shows data in near-real time.

The importance of forest cover is incredibly high, especially when trees are one of the most crucial weapons we have against raising carbon dioxide concentrations and the resulting climate change. Nevertheless, extensive areas around the world are a constant subject of illegal deforestation, which could not be regulated properly.

Thankfully, over the past decade, society has made numerous technological advances and launched satellites with much higher image resolution and spatial coverage. These allow acquisition of higher quality data, which can aid environmental managers, policy makers and legal authorities make fast decisions and take immediate action.

The new initiative called Global Forest Watch is a tool that makes use of available spatial satellite data. It provides high resolution, dynamic, near-real time information about the condition of world’s forests. The platform not only shows gains and loses of forest cover, but also gives information about forest fires, mining, logging, even palm oil production.

In addition to this, the platform provides information on tree cover for the period between 2001-2012 for each individual country. There is also information on carbon stocks and emissions, with additional links to governmental agencies and institutions. Data are free to download, but they can also be analyzed directly on the online map.

Global Forest Capture is an incredible tool, developed with the help and financial support from Google, the World Resources Institute, UNEP and others. Having such a platform at their disposal, environmental managers, planners and regulatory bodies can make much more accurate strategies and catch or prevent illegal cutting of trees much more efficiently.

Deforestation is a serious issue of a global scale. Here, on GreenOptimistic, we have covered quite a number of cases, where it has led to devastating outcomes. Desertification in Somalia, Air pollution in Singapore, these could have been prevented if the Global Forest Watch was available back then. Hopefully, the platform will finally put a stop to such events.

Image (c) Global Forest Watch/Screen shot

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