Dec 12, 2012 • 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 steady watch from space, and now scientists are turning yearly data sets into powerful time series that show the evolution of the landscape. In this visualization of false color images taken of the Pacific Northwest from 1984 to 2011, scientists see many different stories. Some are obvious, like the patchwork of logged land that flickers from mature trees to clear-cut to regrown shrubs. Some are subtle, like the bark beetle or western spruce budworm infestations that pulse across mountainsides. Watch as these and other changes come to life in the video.

The Secret Life of Forests, NASA Science Visualization Studio