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Watch Earth's Forests Disappear Before Your Eyes

Andri Antoniades - TakePart
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November 22, 2013

Mapping Deforestation with Google Earth: A new analysis yields the highest-ever resolution maps of our disappearing forests. (ClimateDesk)

Want to see exactly how awful deforestation really is? You actually do - because this video is as mesmerizing to watch as it is alarming to comprehend.

University of Maryland geographer Matthew Hansen recently partnered with Google Earth to create the most high-resolution map of global forests ever. Using 650,000 satellite images taken by NASA satellites, Hansen and Google compiled imagery detailing the planet’s forest loss over a 12-year period.

According to the data, from 2000 to 2012, over 888,000 square miles - yes, miles, not acres - of tree cover disappeared. That’s a staggering loss, even considering that during this same time period more than 300,000 square miles of forest were gained. Those gains were the result of previously cleared forests that finally grew back - a process that can take years or decades - and from abandoned agricultural lands in countries such as Russia.

Published in the journal Science Hansen's finding show that tree loss was particularly accelerated in the tropics, mostly because of logging and strip-mining. His work also details that some of the deforestation was caused by natural disasters like fires and earthquakes.

Read the rest at TakePart

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