August 2011


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 [...]

Jun 2, 2008Report Using Landsat and SPOT Data Shows Rapid Demise of Papua New Guinean Forests

Source: University of Papua New Guinea Remote Sensing Centre At the same time that the Government of Papua New Guinea is seeking compensation for conserving the carbon-trapping capacity of its vast tropical forests, destruction of these same [...]

Feb 26, 2008Landsat Used to Quantify Sumatran Deforestation and Elephant Peril

The World Wildlife Federation released a report this week warning that accelerated deforestation rates in Sumatra are increasing CO2emissions and pushing native elephants to the brink of extinction. A WWF team of researchers used Landsat data to [...]

The devastation of southern Gulf Coast forests by Hurricane Katrina was documented in before-and-after images from the Landsat 5 satellite.
Nov 15, 2007Landsat Helps Show That Forests Damaged by Hurricane Katrina Become Major Carbon Source

With the help of Landsat and MODIS data, a research team has estimated that Hurricane Katrina killed or severely damaged 320 million large trees in Gulf Coast forests, which weakened the role the forests play in storing carbon from the [...]

Asian mangrove
Oct 30, 2007A Landsat Survey of Mangroves in Tsunami Prone Regions

Agricultural expansion rather than shrimp farming is the major factor responsible for the destruction of tropical mangrove forests in the tsunami-impacted regions of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka, [...]

two regions of the Peruvian rain forest
Aug 9, 2007Landsat Helps Rain Forest Protection Work in Peru

Contributor: Gregory Asner A new regional study shows that land-use policies in Peru have been key to tempering rain forest degradation and destruction in that country. Scientists at the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology led an [...]

Road
Jun 8, 2007Landsat Helps Assess Impacts of Industrial Logging in Central Africa

Though the dense humid forests of Central Africa have been regarded as among the most pristine on Earth, the expansion of industrial logging and the accompanying proliferation of road density are threatening the future of this important [...]

May 23, 2007Michigan State University Uses Landsat to Monitor Global Climate Change

Source: Walter Chomentowski, Global Observatory for Ecosystem Services, Michigan State University Scientists at Michigan State University’s Global Observatory for Ecosystem Services – or GOES – have a treasure trove of resources many of their [...]

Science magazine compiled list of Earth-observing satellites
May 15, 2007Rainforest Monitoring Improved by Data Fusion

In late April, Science magazine reported that Brazil is a world leader in tropical forest monitoring thanks to their use of data from a number of Earth-observing satellites. Brazil's Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (National Institute [...]

southern tip of Madagascar
May 9, 2007Forest Trends in Madagascar

A recently released study provides evidence that social dictums influence the stability of tropical dry forests more than proximate population density. Often, it is assumed that a rising local population means rising pressure on forest [...]

Landsat Image of the Amazon River, Brazil
Aug 1, 2006Small-Scale Logging Leads to Clear-cutting in Brazilian Amazon

A NASA-funded study has discovered an important indicator of rain forest vulnerability to clear-cutting in Brazil. This five-year study is the first to quantify the relationship between selective logging, where loggers extract individual trees [...]