It’s the holy grail for those hunting illegal logging: a satellite tool to find deforestation anywhere in the world around the clock.
NASA researchers at Ames laboratory in California teamed up with the environmental news and watchdog site, Mongabay, to create the tool: the Global Forest Disturbance Alert system. Every three months, the system compiles data from the entire Earths’ surface for signs of forest loss down to five square kilometers. Anyone can get this free, timely comprehensive look at the 50,000 square miles of forest lost each year.
What are you tracking exactly?
[We] measures changes in vegetation cover on a quarterly basis. The tool was developed for Mongabay by researchers at NASA Ames. It only picks up large-scale change, like new plantations or clear-cutting, rather than smallholder activity (with a resolution of 5 KM).
We plan to roll out an alert system which would enable a user to subscribe for a regency, protected area, province, or the entire country, and then be alerted if deforestation is detected. We’re also hoping to make the tool monthly, rather than quarterly in the near future.