Feeds

Google Earth SHOCK: ZERO point ZERO ZERO SIX of world forests disappear each year

Not to mention 'Great Reversal' density increase

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

The technical team behind Google Earth have partnered with US government boffins to produce dramatic satellite maps showing how the area of the world covered by forests has changed across the years 2000 to 2012.

The red speckles are forests lost from 2000-2012

In the year 2000, some 32,688,000 km2 of the planet was covered by forests. Over the next 12 years, 2.3 million km2 of forest was lost, but 0.8m was actually gained. Overall the loss was 1.5m km2, representing an annual loss of approximately 0.6 per cent [which is the same as 0.006 of the total. No need to write in about the headline - Ed].

One of the success stories of the decade was Brazil, which started off losing 0.04 million km2 (a thousandth of the world forest area) every year. But by 2012, in large part by making use of the same free Landsat data that the Googlers and boffins employed in the study, Brazil's government had managed to cut its deforestation to half that - a rate that would take centuries to seriously impact the world's forest area, and still slowing.

Other governments didn't do so well, with Indonesia, Russia and some central African nations coming in for a stern finger-wagging from the boffins in press releases accompanying the publication of the new research.

The relatively slow modern losses in world forest area are believed by some noted boffins to be offset by ongoing increases in forest density: due to changes in forest management in many nations, their trees are taller and more thickly planted, such that the actual amount of carbon locked up in them is going up. This has been dubbed the "Great Reversal" for the world's forests.

So all may not be doom and gloom, for those who like to hug a tree now and then.

The crafty maps can be viewed in their full glory here, and the paper outlining the results is published here in hefty boffinry mag Science. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.