New global monitoring system to track deforestation in `near real time`

London, Feb 22: A new global monitoring system has been launched that promises “near real time” information on deforestation around the world.

Global Forest Watch (GFW) is backed by Google and over 40 business and campaigning groups.

It uses information from hundreds of millions of satellite images as well as data from people on the ground, the BBC reported.

Businesses have welcomed the new database as it could help them prove that their products are sustainable.

Despite greater awareness around of the world of the impacts of deforestation, the scale of forest loss since 2000 has been significant – Data from Google and the University of Maryland said that the world lost 230 million hectares of trees between 2000 and 2012.

One of the big problems in dealing with tree loss has been a lack of accurate information.

To tackle the dearth of reliable and up to date information, the US based World Resources Institute (WRI) has lead the development of GFW, using half a billion high resolution images from NASA’s Landsat programme.

The system utilises the cloud computing power of the Google Earth Engine, the Google Maps Engine and new algorithms developed by the University of Maryland.

While high resolution images of global tree loss and gain are updated annually, data on tropical forests at a resolution of 500 metres is updated monthly. (ANI)