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Tropical forest carbon monitoring gets big boost
Date:12/4/2008

Stanford, CAA new and improved tool to monitor deforestation and degradation in tropical forests has just gotten a huge boost. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has awarded the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology with a $1.6-million grant to expand and improve CLASLite (The Carnegie Landsat Analysis System Lite), a new, user-friendly method that enables even the smallest governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to map tropical forests from their desktops. The technology will rapidly advance deforestation and degradation mapping in Latin America, and will help rain forest nations better monitor their changing carbon budgets.

"About 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation and degradation of tropical forests," remarked project leader Greg Asner. "And much of it occurs in developing nations, where monitoring capabilities are often unavailable to governments and NGOs. This grant allows us to improve and expand CLASLite, and to train many people from tropical forest nations so that they can determine where and when forest losses are occurring. Perhaps most importantly, rain forest nations will be able to better determine how much CO2 comes from deforestation and degradationinformation that has been very scarce in the past. We hope that CLASLite will become a central tool for rain forest monitoring in support of global carbon crediting for REDDthe United Nations initiative on Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation."

The first land observation satellite "Landsat" was launched in the early 1970s, but the image analysis techniques employed at the time could not easily penetrate the upper layers of forest leaves. Beginning in 1999, Asner and colleagues started analyzing satellite imagery of Brazilian rain forests using CLAS's advanced computational methods and pattern-recognition algorithms. Their techniques allow the penetration of the canopy at a scale of about 100 square feet
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Contact: Greg Asner
gpa@ciw.edu
650-462-1047
Carnegie Institution
Source:Eurekalert

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