Tree Frog Forestry News

Radical transparency: Tracking deforestation through satellite imagery

February 23, 2015

Floating softly through the vacuum of space, the Landsat 7 satellite has faithfully provided imaging of the entirety of Earth’s surface, every 16 days, since 1999. Now, a series of technological developments has made this silent spectator a dominant force in tracking forests worldwide. From his personal computer in Redwood City, California, Rhett Butler, founder and director of mongabay.com, identified an area of recent deforestation on the island of Sumatra. In less than 72 hours, he was bumping along a freshly cut logging road in a 4×4 Jeep, following his GPS to the coordinates of the identified forest loss.