May 2016


dead trees in the Sierra Nevadas
May 20, 2016Decades of Foothill Forest Growth Erased Due to California’s Extreme Drought

Analyzing a three-decade record of vegetation cover change from the Landsat to compare previous controls on Sierra Nevada forest growth rates and effects of recent fluctuations in water availability since the mid-1980s.

Trees burned by the Summit Fire
May 19, 2016Landsat Data Show Rapid Recovery for Some California Forests Despite Drought

NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Landsat satellite images over the past three decades showed that the severe drought periods recorded since the 1980s have not slowed rapid tree and shrub growth, especially on steep slopes burned recently by [...]

Landscape of West Kalimantan, Indonesia by Yayan Indriatmoko , CIFOR
Apr 27, 2016Staying Alert: How a New Landsat-Based Tool Spots Deforestation

Forests are commodities. The biggest driver of deforestation worldwide is the economic value of trees and the land they stand on. With the high demand for agricultural land and wood products, deforestation has become an intractable problem.

Canadian forest changes 1985-2011
Apr 18, 2016Landsat Used to Recreate the History of Canada’s Forests

Canada has recreated the recent history of its forest disturbance and related recovery using Landsat data; a history that would otherwise not be possible to recreate in a manner that is spatially explicit and at a spatial resolution of relevance [...]

forest and fungi
Mar 31, 2016Landsat Uncovers Underground Forest Fungi

A NASA-led team of scientists has developed the first-ever method for detecting the presence of different types of underground forest fungi from space, information that may help researchers predict how climate change will alter forest habitats.

Tim Assal
Feb 16, 2016Documenting Spatial and Temporal Trends of Drought

We turned to the remote sensing archive to determine if drought altered forest structure over the course of a decade-and-a-half. We analyzed 22 years of Landsat satellite data to determine changes in forest condition between 1985 and 2012.

in the field
Feb 2, 2016A New Observation Method That Sees the Forest for the Trees

A marriage in the remote forests of China promises to unite two important forces to better inform the health and future of biodiversity. The union is reported in this week’s journal Ecological Indicators by Michigan State University researchers.

longwall mining machine
Dec 16, 2015Assessing Longwall Mining Impacts on the Forests Above

Erin Pfeil-McCullough, a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, gave a talk at #AGU15 on insights that she has gained from her research to determine what impacts longwall mining has on forest canopies above as the ground subsides and [...]

fire boundary, Red Lassic
Dec 15, 2015Forest Disturbances and their Causes in California

Courtney Reents, a graduate student at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, presented a poster on forest disturbance in California at #AGU15.

U.S. forest
Dec 14, 2015Finding Where U.S. Forests Have Been Undisturbed for a Quarter Century

Chengquan Huang presented a poster explaining where to find U.S. forests that have been undisturbed for last 25 years at #AGU15. His research relied on Landsat to both find these forests and understand forest disturbance trends in the U.S.

Government Leaders Endorse Forests as Key Climate Solution
Dec 1, 2015Government Leaders Endorse Forests as Key Climate Solution

Heads of Government from major forest countries and partner countries joined together on Nov. 30, 2015 to endorse forests as a key climate solution. They recommitted to providing strong, collective and urgent action to promote equitable rural [...]

forest fall colors
Oct 28, 2015Forest Disturbance History from Landsat Released, 1986-2010

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory DAAC, has just release a Landsat-based forest disturbance history covering the years between 1986 and 2010.

Matt Hansen
Oct 21, 2015Visualizing Data—Landsat at the World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum has published a talk given by Illah Nourbakhsh, professor of robotics from Carnegie Mellon and Matthew Hansen, a remote sensing specialist at the University of Maryland, that demonstrates how visualizing big data can [...]

ridge-top bristlecone pine forest
Oct 5, 2015A forest by any other name?
Semantics, carbon implications, and solutions


Using the world’s first global, Landsat-based 30-meter resolution map of tree cover, researchers found that ambiguity of the term “forest” has the potential to create 13 percent discrepancies in forest area maps. While ecologists have long [...]

New Global Data Finds Tropical Forests Declining in Overlooked Hotspots
Sep 2, 2015New Global Data Finds Tropical Forests Declining in Overlooked Hotspots

The world lost more than 18 million hectares (45 million acres) of tree cover in 2014, an area twice the size of Portugal, according to new data from the University of Maryland (UMD) and Google released by Global Forest Watch. The data find that [...]

Forester showing pine beetle damage
Aug 19, 2015Improved Forest Disturbance Monitoring via an Algorithm Ensemble

Forest resource managers, natural resource policy makers, and global change scientists need comprehensive, consistent, and up-to-date information on trends in forest cover and condition. This information is essential for understanding carbon [...]

the sound of deforestation
May 28, 2015The Sound of Deforestation, A Hack to Make Data Sing

In his lightning talk Lagomasino proposed a challenge to help study deforestation by linking satellite imagery and ground-images gathered via crowdsourcing

Mountain pine beetle destruction
Mar 7, 2015Landsat-Based Insect Atlas Gives Best View of Outbreaks in Forests

Scientists for the first time have simultaneously compared widespread impacts from two of the most common forest insects in the West—mountain pine beetle and western spruce budworm – an advance that could lead to more effective management policies.

DNC deforestation
Feb 25, 2015Landsat Shows Felling of Tropical Trees Has Soared

The rate at which tropical forests were cut, burned or otherwise lost from the 1990s through the 2000s accelerated by 62 percent, according to a new study which dramatically reverses a previous estimate of a 25 percent slowdown over the same [...]

Moore and Surui chief
Jan 28, 2015Wrangling a Petabyte of Data to Better View the Earth

When viewed from space, clouds largely obscure the Earth. It isn’t a matter of time of day, angle or distance. It’s just the way it is – unless, of course, you are gazing at the planet using Google Earth. The story of how Google Earth offers [...]

Aspen Tree Trunks
Dec 22, 2014SilviaTerra: Landsat Use by a Forestry Start-up

SilviaTerra is a four-year-old start-up company with five full-time employees that is contributing to the change in the way forests are managed in the United States. The company provides next-generation, highly accurate forest inventory data to [...]

Uinta Mountains
Dec 19, 2014U.S. Forest Service Uses Landsat to Improve Estimates of Forest Disturbance

Each year the U.S. Forest Service takes a census of trees, chronicling the nation’s forest heath and timber resources. Forest managers use this information to project what U.S. forests will be like in coming decades and, if needed, to adjust [...]

boat in the Sundarbans
Oct 29, 2014Mapping South Asia’s Mangroves

Along the sea’s edge in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, the dense coastal population lives largely in symbiosis with the region’s mangrove forests. Mangroves—a vast network of intertidal trees and shrubs with their characteristic [...]

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

Ensuring the health and sustainability of the nation’s forests requires scientifically credible and timely information about the extent, location, health, and ownership of these forests and the possible effects of global climate change. Forest [...]

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

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 occurring in Indonesia.

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.

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

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 Stanford University Online [...]

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

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 for individuals to entire governments.

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.

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 [...]