August 2014


Lake Michigan phosphorus and turbidity predictions
Aug 7, 2014Landsat Aids Forest Service Research

[Source: Forest Service, Northern Research Station] Research highlights of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service—Northern Research Center feature two projects that relied on Landsat data. Ensuring the health and sustainability Read [...]

Chart showing old-growth forest loss in Indonesia, 2000-2012
Jul 30, 2014A Closer Look at Old-Growth Forest Loss in Indonesia

Jul 30, 2014 • A group of researchers from the University of Maryland, the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, and the World Resource Institute joined forces to remedy the lack of consensus about the amount of old-growth forest clearing [...]

Screen Capture from 1977 video
May 22, 20141977 Video: Landsat—Satellite for all Seasons

This 1977 NASA video series, "Landsat—Satellite for All Seasons," provides examples of early Landsat applications. The concatenated videos include:   + Growing Concerns This video illustrates how Landsat data were used to aid agriculture [...]

CLASlite team
Mar 7, 2014Carnegie Landsat Analysis System-lite (CLASlite) Classroom Launches in Spanish

[Source: Moore Foundation] On March 4, 2014, the CLASlite team at the Carnegie Institution for Science (Department of Global Ecology) launched the Spanish version of the Carnegie Landsat Analysis System-lite (or CLASlite) Classroom, hosted by [...]

newly established black mangrove grows amid salt marsh plants north of St. Augustine, Florida
Dec 30, 2013Landsat Satellite Sees Florida Mangroves Migrate North

Cold-sensitive mangrove forests have expanded dramatically along Florida's Atlantic Coast since the mid-1980s, as the frequency of killing frosts has declined, according to a new study based on 28 years of satellite data from the NASA-USGS [...]

CLASlite in Peru
Dec 18, 2013Forest Monitoring: Bringing the Power to the People

[Source: Carnegie Institution for Science] Forest conservation is an issue of major concern to communities large and small around the globe. But gathering the monitoring data needed to make the right decisions has proven extremely prohibitive [...]

North American forest changes 2000–2012
Nov 15, 2013When Trees Fall, Landsat Maps Them

The ravages of deforestation, wildfires, windstorms and insects on global forests during this century are revealed in unprecedented detail in a new study based on Landsat data. The maps resulting from the study are the first to document forest [...]

Burning fields in Indonesia
Jul 30, 2013Using Landsat 8 to Locate Fires in Indonesia

In June, air pollution over Singapore and Malaysia spiked as forests in neighboring Sumatra (Indonesia) burned. Using NASA's daily fire alerts and official national maps, the fires were located in the vicinity of oil palm and acacia tree [...]

May 9, 2013Landsat Images Provide the Gold Standard for New Earth Applications

Images from Landsat satellites provided free to the public by the Department of the Interior's U.S. Geological Survey were the starting points for “a new breakthrough” reported today by Time and announced on the Official Google Blog. Using its [...]

Forests in SE U.S.
Jan 17, 2013Detecting Forest Change in the Southeast U.S.

The southeastern United States is a hotspot for forestry activity. The cyclical harvest and planting of trees on lands dedicated to timber and pulp production result in some of the highest rates of forest change observed in the country. Over the [...]

Jan 14, 2013Sensing Forest Disturbance: Landsat Sees Insect Outbreaks From Space

A new way of studying and visualizing Earth science data from a NASA and U.S. Geological Survey satellite program is resulting in, for the first time, the ability to tease out the small events that can cause big changes in an ecosystem. Called [...]

Dec 12, 2012The Secret Life of Forests

A new method of mapping satellite data reveals the hidden stories of forests in the Pacific Northwest. Forests in the United States are constantly changing. For four decades NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey's Landsat satellites have kept a [...]

Aug 20, 2012Landsat Shows Yellowstone Burn Recovery

A combination of lightning, drought and human activity caused fires to scorch more than one-third of Yellowstone National Park in the summer of 1988. Within a year, burn scars cast a sharp outline on the 793,880 acres affected by fire, [...]

forest in Gabon, Africa
Jun 18, 2012Landsat Sets the Standard for Maps of World’s Forests

• NASA's Earth-observing fleet of satellites provides a worldwide and unbiased view with standardized scientific data—information crucial for tracking the health of the world's forests. Countries like Brazil are using data from NASA [...]

Rocky Mountain National Park
Apr 11, 2012Forest Science Requires Long-Term Monitoring and Research

Part of the challenge for understanding how forests are affected by climate change is the need for long-term data. Satellites are a cost-effective way to gather wide-spread information on forests, and the Landsat program has been doing so across [...]

Old growth Oregon coastal forest
Feb 8, 2012EarthSky Interview with Alan Belward: Tracking Changes to Earth’s Forests from Space

Satellite researcher Alan Belward works for the Institute for Environment and Sustainability, part of the European Commission's Joint Research Center in Ispra, Italy. Dr. Belward heads the Land Resource Management Unit, which looks at changes to [...]

Kirtland's Warbler
Dec 9, 2011Satellite Data Shows that Kirtland’s Warblers Prefer Forests After Fire

Kirtland's warblers are an endangered species of lightweight little birds with bright yellow-bellies that summer in North America and winter in the Bahamas. But be it their winter or their summer home, a new study using data from NASA-built [...]

aspen stand suffering from sudden aspen decline
Dec 6, 2011Consequences of Aspen Die-off

Trembling aspen are dying. No tree species in North America has a broader habitat and no other is as large (a single clone can be a hundred acres in size). So their recent widespread mortality, caused by a severe five-year drought and higher [...]

The Balayan-Souroumba region in Guinea
Nov 10, 2011USGS and USAID Partner to Conserve Forests, Water in Africa

Contributor: Vicky Fakan, USAID USAID has long been a major actor helping to conserve Guinea's forest reserves, which replenish many of West Africa's life-sustaining waterways. Now, a recent partnership between USAID and the U.S. Geological [...]

two satellite-derived images of the Wallow Fire
Aug 23, 2011Landsat Image Maps Aid Fire Recovery Efforts

Contributor: Melissa Quijada, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center NASA satellite images regularly map active fires around the world. Once a fire is out, satellite data and maps are also used by scientists to measure and protect the scorched land, [...]

Wallow Fire in Arizona
Jun 9, 2011Arizona Wildfire Sweeps Through Apache National Forest

Source: Jan Nelson, USGS / Rob Gutro, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center The second largest fire in Arizona history, the Wallow Fire is graphically depicted by this Landsat image, taken June 7, which shows burning in the mountains of eastern [...]

Apr 25, 2011Landsat part of SERVIR’s Fire Management System Support in Guatemala

Contributors: Janet L. Anderson, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center In the last few years, fire incidence in Guatemala has increased, damaging and transforming wild areas into degraded forests, savannas and sterile lands. Atrocious events have [...]

Apr 20, 2011Most Detailed Maps of Forest Height, Biomass, and Carbon Released

Source: Elizabeth Braun, Woods Hole Research Center The Woods Hole Research Center has released the first hectare-scale maps of canopy height, aboveground biomass, and associated carbon stock for the forests and woodlands of the conterminous [...]

Forest cover loss in Sumatra between 2000-2008
Feb 28, 2011Tracking Forest Loss More Accurately with Landsat

In an article released late this month in Environmental Research Letters, authors Mark Broich, Matthew Hansen, Fred Stolle, Peter Potapov, Belinda Arunarwati Margono, and Bernard Adusei examined interannual forest cover loss on the Indonesian [...]

Landsat-derived deforestation trends
Dec 6, 2010A Carbon Agreement That Would Rely on Landsat Data

At the UN climate talks in Cancun, a satellite-based protocol to track deforestation is being met with some optimism. In this new initiative to incentivize forest conservation in developing countries, Landsat data would be used to verify [...]

forest floor
Oct 25, 2010Landsat Backbone of Forest Monitoring

In a recent EarthSky interview, Landsat science team member Curtis Woodcock talks about the importance of Landsat data to global forest monitoring. Podcasts: • 90 second podcast interview (1.7 Mb) • 8 min. podcast interview (13.9 Mb) From Read [...]

Oct 1, 2010Free Landsat Data = More Deforestation Monitoring

Matt Hansen, the co-director of South Dakota State University's Geographic Information Science Center for Excellency, spoke with Mongabay.com about the importance of Landsat data to forest cover monitoring. The historical Landsat database [...]

Sep 2, 2010Most New Farmland Comes from Cutting Tropical Forest

Source: Louis Bergeron, Stanford Report A new study led by a Stanford researcher shows that more than 80 percent of the new farmland created in the tropics between 1980 and 2000 came from felling forests, which sends carbon into the atmosphere [...]

Aug 28, 2010Root of the Matter: A New Map Shows Decline of Life-Saving Forests

Contributor: Gretchen Cook-Anderson, NASA‘s Earth Science News Team Countless people clung to life in the branches of trees hemming the shorelines during the deadly 2004 tsunami that killed more than 230,000 coastal residents in Indonesia, [...]

A portion of the map showing mangrove forests distributions of the world.
Aug 18, 2010Landsat Enables World’s Most Comprehensive Mangrove Assessment

The most definitive map of Earth’s mangrove forests has been created with Landsat data. A group of scientists, led by Chandra Giri from USGS-EROS, has calculated that approximately 53,190 square miles (137, 760 km²) of mangroves exists, 12.3 [...]

Forest height in southern Eleuthera
Jul 31, 2010Landsat Time Series Used to Map Tropical Dry Forest Height

A team of researchers led by Landsat Science Team member Eileen Helmer has used Landsat time series data to map forest height on the island of Eleuthera. In the past, forest height and vertical structure have more typically been mapped with [...]

Giuliano Guimaraes examines a fallen tree
Jul 13, 2010Study Using Landsat Finds Amazon Storm Killed Half a Billion Trees

A single, huge, violent storm that swept across the whole Amazon forest in 2005 killed half a billion trees, according to a new study funded by NASA and Tulane University. While storms have long been recognized as a cause of Amazon tree loss, [...]

forest conversion in each Eastern U.S. ecoregion
Apr 14, 2010U.S. Eastern Forests in Decline

In an article published in BioScience, USGS scientists Mark Drummond and Tom Loveland show that forests in the Eastern U.S. have declined four percent since 1973. Using Landsat data along with field work and statistical data Drummond (a USGS [...]

Feb 23, 2010Deforestation Driven by 21st Century Urbanites

• A recently published Nature Geoscience article by Ruth DeFries et al. reveals that urban pressures (for food and resources) have replaced subsistence farmers as the leading driver of tropical deforestation this century. The study used [...]

Nov 18, 2009Evaluating Mangroves After the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami

During the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, more than 200,000 people lost their lives. Some coastal communities were shielded from the waves’ destruction by mangrove forests, which motivated efforts to protect and restore them.As a [...]

forest change in Paraguay
Nov 18, 2009With Global Land Surveys, Scientists Map Forest Change Since 1990

Source: Rebecca Lindsey; NASA Earth Observatory At the Global Land Cover Facility at the University of Maryland-College Park, the computers are in training. For the past few months, geographer and remote-sensing scientist John Townshend and his [...]

Nov 17, 2009Brazil Reports Lowest Rate of Amazonian Deforestation in Two Decades

Brazil's space agency, the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), has reported the lowest rate (km²/yr) of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon since 1988 when the agency began its annual space-based assessments. Brazil uses Landsat data [...]

Nov 12, 2009Landsat Used to Estimate Deforestation in Sumatra’s Leuser Ecosystem

On Indonesia's island of Sumatra a large expanse of tropical rainforest, known as the Leuser Ecosystem, is home to many endangered species of plants and animals. Among its more famous animals are orangutans, rhinoceros, elephants, and tigers. [...]

Oct 20, 2009GEO Announces New Annual Assessments of Forest Carbon

Source: Group on Earth Observations “The only way to measure forests efficiently is from space,” Group on Earth Observations (GEO) director, José Achache said referring to the group's goal to make annual assessments of forest carbon stocks using [...]

NASA researcher Lola Fatoyinbo with one of her research assistants
Aug 20, 2009Landsat Helps NASA Researcher Map Endangered African Mangroves

Impoverished fishermen along the coast of tropical African countries like Mozambique and Madagascar may have only a few more years to eke out a profit from one of their nations’ biggest agricultural exports. Within a few decades, they may no [...]

Jul 21, 2009Landsat Used to Examine Wood Supply Uncertainty

Source: U.S. Forest Service As members of the forest products industry continue to reduce their landholdings, monitoring reliable future timber supplies becomes an increasingly important issue. This issue requires both spatial and forest [...]

Jun 12, 2009Forest Changes in the U.S. Southwest

In a recent study published in Remote Sensing of Environment, Landsat science team member James Vogelmann and colleagues have used Landsat data collected between 1988 and 2006 to assess forest changes in New Mexico's Santa Fe National Forest. [...]

Apr 30, 2009Landsat Among Suite of Satellites Used in Study Linking Drought to Asian Wildfire Emissions

Source: Gretchen Cook-Anderson In the last decade, Asian farmers have cleared tens of thousands of square miles of forests to accommodate the world’s growing demand for palm oil, an increasingly popular food ingredient. Ancient peatlands have [...]

lowland forest age images
Jan 27, 2009Landsat, GLAS, and Google Earth Used in Concert to Study Amazonian Forests

Contributor: Eileen Helmer In a study published today, carbon accumulation rates of tropical forests biomass regrowth in areas of abandoned agriculture have been measured entirely from space for the first time. Study authors combined [...]

Sep 26, 2008Fusing Landsat and MODIS Data to Better Estimate Boreal Forest Loss

This month in Remote Sensing of Environment, Potapov et al. report on their method of combining MODIS and Landsat imagery to estimate forest loss in the world’s boreal forests. Understanding forest loss in boreal forests is especially important [...]

Aug 10, 2008Landsat Key in New UNEP Atlas of Africa’s Environmental Change

Glacial Retreat to Rapid Urbanization Chronicled in Landmark Satellite Report to Africa's Environment Ministers Source: United Nations Environment Programme Africa's rapidly changing environmental landscape, from the disappearance of glaciers in [...]

Jul 31, 2008Landsat 7 SLC-off Data Evaluated for Forest Change Detection

Researchers from the Canadian Forest Service's Pacific Forestry Centre and the U.S. Geological Survey have published a study which evaluates the utility of histogram– and segment–based Landsat SLC-off gap-filled data products for change [...]

Jul 10, 2008Diversity and Biomass of Tropical Forests Cleared for Land Development

• To learn more about the tropical forests that are cleared when urban and residential development spreads, scientists assembled the most comprehensive time series of land cover maps to date for the island of Puerto Rico.  They learned that [...]

Landsat-derived land use maps of St. Kitts and Nevis Islands.
Jul 10, 2008New Landsat-Based Maps of Complex Caribbean Islands Reveal Conservation Opportunities Where Sugar Cane Cultivation Has Become Unprofitable

A new set of vegetation maps for five islands of the Caribbean Lesser Antilles, including Grenada, St. Kitts, Nevis, St. Eustatius and Barbados, appear in the June issue of the Caribbean Journal of Science.  Most of the maps are based on Landsat [...]