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back to article Google Earth SHOCK: ZERO point ZERO ZERO SIX of world forests disappear each year

The technical team behind Google Earth have partnered with US government boffins to produce dramatic satellite maps showing how the area of the world covered by forests has changed across the years 2000 to 2012. The red speckles are forests lost from 2000-2012 In the year 2000, some 32,688,000 km2 of the planet was covered by …

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Impressive detail

You can zoom in to almost one tree. Bullshit has nowhere to hide now.

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Re: Impressive detail

It's bearshit in the woods, I believe.

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Re: Impressive detail

Human overpopulation is the #1 ecological problem facing the planet today... & if you say one word about it the Politically Correct Police will label you a Racist... all is lost... Gang Green Members suck!

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Anonymous Coward

And then...

Brazil was indeed doing well up until last year, then... whoopsy!

"Brazil says Amazon deforestation rose 28% in a year" http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-24950487

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And then...

Well if they reduced it by half, but then it increased again by 28% of that:

Then the current rate of deforestation is 64% of the rate in the year 2000, which is still a 36% improvement and not to be sniffed at.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And then...

If it was averaging .06% and suddenly increased by 28%, that would make it 0.768% for 2012, or have I got that wrong?

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Re: And then...

Its been a topic of debate for a while now, what gets is that unlike PC industry, the numbers go down, we end up with less forests, like smokers destroying their lungs, a bit at time, until they do too much damage, and entire system fails ....

From 1993 TV Show STARK ( Ben Elton)

"this story was a fantasy, but in the 3 hours it took to tell it, 18,000 acres of Rain Forest have been destroyed forever, 7 million tons of CO2 was produced, 12 species of life became extinct, 23 square miles of land become desert, in 3 hours, this story was a fantasy, perhaps ...."

While I do not claim any that is truly accurate, I would like to see it worked out like that, a hour rate, to see what our "advanced society" costs us ....

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Re: And then...

Forrest surrounding the Chesapeake Bay here in Maryland continue to shrink... mass immigration is more important to Governor O'Malley than the health of the bay... Go Gang Green!... morons... :(

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CO2 and density

So is the increase in density solely down to different forestry management, or is more CO2 in the air leading to bigger and bushier trees sucking more CO2 out of the atmosphere?

Negative feedback, anyone?

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The bordeaux region of france.

Are they really trees or differences between summer Vines and the winter cut back?

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What's happening North of Leeds?

Seems there's loads disappearing up there, to the West of the A1(M).

You can also see how Thetford Forest has loads disappearing and loads being re-planted.

Interesting. (locally)

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M7S
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On the initial map

our green and pleasant land doesn't look very, well, green.

Are things that bad or did we plant the wrong kind of forest?

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Re: On the initial map

Most of our land is open farmland, really..

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Re: On the initial map

Wasn't Britain MOSTLY forested millennia ago?

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Unhappy

This does not look good

Despite the seemingly cheerful tone of the article, I find losing 5% of the world's forests in 12 years is extremely worrying. Unless a huge effort to reverse the trend is done, there won't be any forests left in just two centuries.

I would really not be comfortable with kicking the can and just say "our grandchildren will take care of that in a hundred years".

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Joke

I know....

Quick energy companies: raise prices to fix it!

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Unhappy

That's alright then

200 years left before it's all gone, that's alright then. Who needs oxygen or soil anyway?

(BTW, can't replicate 0.6%: 1.5/32/12 ~= 0.004)

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Broad Brush

It isn't infallible - our local area has tree loss in an arable field which has always been an arable field, so perhaps a change in crop has fooled the algorithm.

It doesn't seem to have coped very well with the moorland vegetation in the UK, either.

However, as a broad brush to spot the major problems - pretty good!

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The survey doesn't say which of those forests are low biodiversity monoculture for pulp or palm oil replacing ancient forest with high biodiversity. So there is still a crisis in the world's forests.

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Indeed. And you don't need to cut down a forest to harm it to turn into a degraded husk, just build a one road through a forest, and soon enough loggers, cattle ranchers, gold miners and civilisation arrive, and they divide a forest into a patchwork of degraded forest fragments. This in turn alters the weather, which degrades the forest further because of high temperatures, low humidity and drought. What's left is has limited biodiversity.

That's what happened to the Amazonian rainforest in Rondônia State, Brazil beginning in the 70s. And you don't have to be a tree hugging environmentalist to see what a disaster this was, because thousands of Native Americans Indians lived uncontacted there until the late 60s early 70's, they suffered catastrophic losses to disease and violent conflict with gold miners, cattle ranchers and peasant farmers. Some groups that once numbered in the thousands are now down to a few hundred living in poverty and addiction on government settlements. Even the peasant farmers didn't fair well either, the soil in the Amazon rainforest is thin and it's underlain by leached sand, the ecosystem evolved over millions of years to recycle the limited nutrients, the farmer's crops soon failed and they starved.

Adrian Cowell spent 30 years documenting the deforestation in Rondônia from the 70s to the 90s. He produced the amazing series of documentaries.

http://www.adriancowellfilms.com/

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Mushroom

Tree Farms=Death

Carbon sequestration is apparently the only viable pretext for the existence of Forest. "Forest management" should include glyphosate and clothianidin application to the edge environments to settle any last remnants of the ecology seeking refuge. Plowing up the last of the Prairie for ethanol production is also an important component in our final solution for this planet.

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Anonymous Coward

If you want more trees, use MORE paper

Counter intuitive? Maybe, but think through the economics: http://voices.yahoo.com/go-green-more-paper-8586561.html

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Re: If you want more trees, use MORE paper

In my opinion, the article you quoted is FOS. Trees used for paper production have usually nothing to do with the original species that populated the area, and often are also invading species, that cause great harm to local ecosystems. Here in the sunny Spain - and AFAIK in the rest of Europe- they're using eucalyptus, a fast growing invader species that makes the ground toxic for most other plants and trees, but grow almost as fast as bamboo*.

They make 'interesting'** forest fires too, and tend to cause lots of erosion***. Add to that the usual problems with monocultures and the picture gets yet a little bit darker. As for the carbon sequestration angle, paper production needs lots and lots of energy and produces lots of CO2 and other contaminants, so growing trees for making paper is far less efficient as a carbon sink than, e.g. growing trees for quality wood and some nuts . Anyway, I agree with you that the main problem is the economy. Sigh...

*Note: Yes, I'm exaggerating a little bit.

**Note: Where 'interesting' means 'really fucking difficult to put down'. I can tell you from personal experience that those fires are like an open window to hell.

***Note: I think eucalyptus is the Aussie's revenge against the rest of the world for sending them all those rabbits. ;-)

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Re: If you want more trees, use MORE paper

See even the fucking trees here will kill ya. :)

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Anonymous Coward

The magic of fractions

There are 32 million square kilometers of forest. We lost 1.5 million of them in the last decade. Imagine you're in a lifeboat and you have 32 gallons of water and you've used 1.5 gallons in the last week. That's 5% gone in a week!

Sure it seems bad at first glance, but let's use the magic of PERCENTAGES and SHORT TIME INTERVALS to make things better. If you think about things on a daily basis, that's only 0.71% of our original water supply per day, or only ZERO point ZERO ZERO SEVEN ONE waters per day!! We are saved!

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a net loss of 1.5m km2 from only 32.6 km2 is kind of a whole lot for only 12 years, i don't think a cheerful headline is warranted here

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Enough with "boffins" already.

This article might break The Register's own record for trite use of the word "boffin", one of the more annoying British colloquialisms.

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Good news - really?

The Earth has lost nearly 5% of its forested area in the last 12 years, so I guess things being not-as-bad-as-feared (though still bad) counts as good news. :'(

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Forests down to Zero is a monumental world wide disaster

This is the worst thing that we can do to Earth. A world wide catastrophe that might end life as we know it. We can't screw around. The oxygen that need to sustain the planet is in grave jeopardy. We need a world policy, like the using chemical weapons on your own people type policy. When any country or any company cut down trees, they have to replant the whole field after they cut them down. A world organization will monitor the regrowing process. If a country or corporations fail on the replanting, the responsible party will pay for the replanting cost by the world organization. It is everyone's responsibility because it affect every person in the world.

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Malaysia lost 14.4%, Paraguay 9.6%, Indonesia 8.4%, Guatemala 8.2% and Cambodia lost 7.1% of their forests in 12 years.

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bep

e.g. Malaysia

For what used to be an interesting train trip, try the one from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. Not much variety these days; palm oil plantation followed by palm oil plantation as far as the eye can see. Just because it looks green from a distance doesn't mean it is good. Some of the locals will tell you the palm oil plantations are just replacing the old rubber plantations, but I don't think that's the half of it.

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forest harvest that will be replanted

Map includes sites where trees have been recently harvested as "loss" even if they are immediately replanted. So then they show us as "gain" at some later point as the trees grow. Including managed forest in the loss/gain calculation skews the results. Hopefully the map would better indicate where forest has actually been lost due to conversion to some other use.

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There appears to be some error in the computerized calculations. Olympic National Park, just north of my western Washington State property, shows some loss of forests in the middle of a heavily timbered rough terrain. There is no logging or habitation in those areas. So why the forest loss? Perhaps the Google Earth colors aren't quite as accurate as presumed.

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It's good that forest loss has been reduced to less than one percent per year.

It's not good that forest loss is almost one percent per year.

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Re: It's good that forest loss has been reduced to less than one percent per year.

Forests do nothing for bottom lines and campaign donations. Hard to expect something else.

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So 0.6% in one year is not a big deal.

And yet people were up in arms over a .1% reduction in GDP growth in Australia from a carbon tax.

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Wait until Drax, currentlyEurope's largest powerstation 3,960 megawatts starts in earnest using wood pellets instead of coal. There it is sitting on 100 years of coal seams and instead the intent is to change to wood burning - 70,000 tons per day. Wood pellets will be shipped in from the USA. This equates to approximately 70,000 trees PER DAY, at ~250 trees per acre that is ~280 acres per DAY of huggable trees being felled so that Drax can be 'green'

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Don't understand

I posted a comment which was moderated out. It was not offensive, and I see only one possible reason why it would have been rejected*, so I am going to resubmit it below without that.

It's almost funny that these figures can be represented in 2 completely different ways.

The BBC's article was "Oh no, look how much the forests are shrinking!"

This article is "Meh, the forests are barely shrinking."

No voicing an opinion either way, but it's a good reminder of how data can be manipulated to support your own political agenda.

* The only part I could see which would have reasonable grounds for rejection was a famous "quote" about statistics.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Don't understand

Tends to help if you don't insult El Reg when commenting. You're a guest in our house, remember - we reserve the right to hoik you out if you upset us.

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Re: Don't understand

I'm sorry if what I said came across as an insult. It was not meant to.

I was merely pointing out how a set of results can be interpreted in 2 completely different ways, as this is an extreme example of such happening.

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