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Scientists make first high-resolution forest change map

Published On: Sun, Nov 17th, 2013 | Climate Change | By IANS

US scientists have published the first high-resolution global map of 21st-century forest cover change.

The study, published in the Science magazine reports a number of key findings on forest change from 2000 to 2012 based on satellite imagery, reports Prensa Latina.

The Earth lost 2.3 million sq km of tree cover in the period due to logging, fire, disease and storms.

But the planet also gained 800,000 sq km of new forest, so a net loss of 1.5 million sq km in total.

Brazil showed the best improvement in the world, cutting the annual forest loss to half between 2003-04 and 2010-11.

Indonesia had the largest increase in deforestation, more than doubling its annual loss to nearly 20,000 sq km in 2011-12.

In the United States, the ‘disturbance rate’ of southeastern forests was four times that of South American rainforests, more than 31 percent of the forest cover was either lost or re-grown.

According to experts from the College Park, Prince George in the US, the research was supported by the Google group and the US government.

Reference:
High-Resolution Global Maps of 21st-Century Forest Cover Change, Science, 15 November 2013: 342 (6160), 850-853. [DOI:10.1126/science.1244693]

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