Global deforestation alert tool developed using NASA satellite imagery
A new tool has been developed which could make saving rainforests from deforestation in countries like Peru, Brazil. DRC and Indonesia , much cheaper and more accessible. The beta version of a global forest disturbance alert system (GloF-DAS) was launched recently and developed by Cal State Monterey Bay and NASA Ames Research Center. The tool offers the potential to pinpoint areas that are being deforested on a quarterly basis.
GloF-DAS is based on a new product derived from satellite data from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). The tool registers when more than 40 percent of a five square kilometer forest area has lost greenness over the previous 12 months. Seasonal variation is generally mitigated through the product’s quarterly baseline. GloF-DAS could help users detect deforestation shortly after it occurs, offering the potential to take measures to investigate clearing before it expands.
“We hope the timeliness of these forest change observations will provide stakeholders in forest conservation more opportunities to make sustainable management decisions,” said Christopher Potter, Senior Research Scientist at NASA Ames Research Center.
Over coming months, the recently launched Indonesian version of Mongabay aims to establish a pilot program using local correspondents to investigate some deforestation hotspots identified in Indonesia by GloF-DAS. The ground-truthing program could help improve transparency around forest use in Indonesia, which is experiencing high rates of deforestation due to mining, conversion for oil palm estates and pulp and paper plantations, and agriculture. The program could also improve the accuracy of GloF-DAS, which has launched as a beta.
Mongabay plans to add an SMS-based alert system whereby a user could sign up to receive a text message when forest change is registered in a specified protected area, municipality, state, or country.