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 establish land cover change trends in central Sumatra’s Riau Province. Their findings show that in the 25 years since 1982, 10.4 million acres (4.2 million hectares) of tropical forests and peat swamp were cleared. Since 1984, it is also estimated that the elephant population has declined by 84% and may be down to as low as 210 individual elephants.
+ WWF press release [external link]
+ WWF full report [external link, PDF 7.3 Mb]
The Pale Blue Dot Visualization Challenge—aimed at making Earth observation data accessible to everyone—has officially kicked off.