Planet-wide rapid deforestation detection system to be launched

by Staff Reporter | April 18th, 2013

Image courtesy Mongabay.com

World Resources Institute (WRI) previewed a tool that could revolutionise global forest monitoring, reports the UN Forum on Forests, which is meeting this week in Istanbul, Turkey.

Global Forest Watch 2.0 will reportedly enable users to track deforestation over time, including forest clearing that has occurred within the past 30 days. It will also allow users to submit georeferenced photographic evidence of forest destruction, supporting efforts by journalists and concerned citizens to report on deforestation

As reported by Mongabay.com, Global Forest Watch 2.0 is a platform that combines near-real time satellite data, forestry data, and user-submitted information to reportedly provide the most complete picture of the world’s forests ever assembled. The system has been developed over the last several years as a collaborative effort between WRI and other partners, including Google, the University of Maryland and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

“[It] could not come at a more critical moment,” Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Wu Hongbo said in a statement. “In achieving sustainable forest management, reliable, up-to-date and easily accessible data and information are essential to monitoring, assessment and effective interventions.”

Global Forest Watch 2.0 will enable users to track deforestation over time, including forest clearing that has occurred within the past 30 days. It will also allow users to submit georeferenced photographic evidence of forest destruction, supporting efforts by journalists and concerned citizens to report on deforestation.

Nigel Sizer, WRI’s Director of its Global Forests Initiative, said that increased transparency offered by the tool lead to lower deforestation rates, if recent developments in Brazil are any indication.

“Deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon have dropped by 80% since 2004,” Sizer said. “According to senior Brazilian officials, this is in part due to their efforts to improve the quality and availability of information about what is happening to those forests and to make it rapidly available to those who can take action.”

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