Skip to comments.Tropical Deforestation Monitored by Satellite
Posted on 10/16/2002 8:22:11 AM PDT by cogitator
Tropical Deforestation Monitored by Satellite
COLLEGE PARK, Maryland, October 15, 2002 (ENS) - Satellite surveys show that less tropical forests were lost over the past two decades than previously estimated, but that the rate of loss is increasing.
A research team led by the University of Maryland is the first to provide measures of how much tropical deforestation occurred during the past 20 years based on remote sensing data covering all the world's tropical forests. The team, whose research was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), evaluated weather satellite data using computer models they developed for the study.
The researchers estimate that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from tropical deforestation were less than half of previous estimates based on deforestation reports from the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization. But they also found that CO2 emissions from tropical deforestation increased by about 30 percent from the 1980s to the 1990s, contradicting the UN report again.
In southeast Asia, forest loss increased by as much as 68 percent, the researchers estimated.
"These findings give us important information for determining the amount of greenhouse gases emitted to the atmosphere from the destruction of forests and the amount that is taken up by re-growing forests in tropical areas of the world," said lead researcher Ruth DeFries, an associate professor in the University of Maryland's department of geography and Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center.
"It is gratifying to find that more forest remains than we had once thought," DeFries said, noting that less forest destruction means less CO2, a greenhouse gas, has entered the atmosphere from burning and decaying vegetation.
"But this finding should not confuse the fact that tropical forest continues to disappear at an alarming rate with enormous implications, not only for greenhouse gas emissions, but for diversity of plant and animal species found there," she added.
The new findings are important because scientists have not been able to balance the carbon budget. There is less carbon dioxide stored in the atmosphere than researchers estimate is emitted from fossil fuel burning or tropical deforestation or absorbed by the ocean.
Scientists have been working to unravel whether this missing carbon is being absorbed by re-growing forests in the northern hemisphere, by increased plant activity, or by some other mechanisms. Based on the results of the DeFries study, less carbon enters the atmosphere from tropical deforestation than previously estimated, so less missing carbon needs to be accounted for.
The study is scheduled for publication this week in the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."
I read the article being that a semi-honest scientist is attempting to prove the lies of previous true believer scientists and they can't true the facts. It's because the previous statements were based on lies and the truth is exposing the prior untruths.
The other statements are garbage put in so they don't get the same treatment from their peers as the fellow from Scandinavia who took heat for telling the environmental truth.
Like the "Great Bear Rain Forest" [/inside sarcasm I bet you appreciate]
Presumably due to respiration of organic matter in the soil.