Scientists Develop First Satellite Deforestation Tracker for Whole of Latin America


WOOD PILE

Scientists develop first satellite deforestation tracker for whole of Latin America
by Staff Writers
London UK (SPX) Jun 21, 2012


This shows deforestation around the dry Chaco of Paraguay from 2004-2011. Credit: http://www.terra-i.org/Karolina Argote/Louis Reymondin.

An international team of researchers in Colombia, the UK, USA and Switzerland have developed the first ever system to monitor deforestation across Latin America in near real-time using satellite data. Preliminary results from the new system reveal that in parts of Colombia, deforestation has increased by 340 per cent since 2004; and over a million hectares of forest have been lost in the Gran Chaco region of Paraguay.

The new satellite system, known as Terra-i, is being launched this week in time for the Rio+20 UN environment conference, and is soon to be expanded to cover all tropical regions. Although Brazil has had a sophisticated near real-time deforestation monitoring system in place since 2008, until now there has been no equivalent for the rest of Latin America.

Terra-i has been developed to monitor changes land cover every 16 days and for every 250 metres on the ground, in order to help national governments, conservation organisations and those implementing climate-related policy to assess recent trends in deforestation and emerging hotspots of change.

The system uses data supplied by NASA’s MODIS satellite sensorand is the result of collaboration between the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in the USA and South America, the School of Engineering and Management of Vaud (HEIG-VD) in Switzerland and King’s College London.

Deforestation can lead to widespread loss of biodiversity and also impacts the ‚ecosystem services‘ that foster a stable climate and secure freshwater supplies. However, in many parts of the world the scale and pattern of deforestation is infrequently and inconsistently monitored and this makes management of change very difficult.

Huge volumes of data need to be processed to detect land cover change at a 250m spatial resolution every 16 days. Moreover, separating real human-induced changes, such as deforestation, from changes brought about by natural seasonality and by droughts, floods or persistent cloud cover, has made the development of an operational monitoring system a real challenge.

The availability of MODIS imagery means that assessment of land cover change can be made in a geographically consistent manner between countries and also updated frequently.

The development of the Terra-i system was led Louis Reymondin, PhD student in the Department of Geography at King’s College London, supervised by Dr Mark Mulligan, in collaboration with CIAT and HEIG-VD and funded by TNC.

‚We developed a computational neural network and ‚trained‘ it with data from 2000-2004 to recognise the normal changes in vegetation greenness due to seasonal variation in rainfall in different areas,‘ said Dr Mulligan, who is attending the Rio+20 conference this week.

‚The network now recognises where and when greenness suddenly changes well beyond these normal limits as a result of deforestation. The system runs on data for every 250 square metres of land from Mexico to Argentina shortly after the data comes in from MODIS and highlights every 16 days the pixels that significantly change, writing these results to Google Maps for easy visualisation,‘ he said.

Preliminary data from Terra-i show that in Caqueta, Colombia for example, deforestation grew from around 4,880 hectares in 2004 to 21,440 in 2011, up by 340 per cent. Deforestation has grown significantly in the buffer zones of the Chiribiquete National Park where deforestation ratesincreased by 196 per cent from 2010 to 2011.

The Gran Chaco in Paraguay is the second largest forested area in South America. Terra-i found that between 2004 and 2010, over a million hectares of this area was deforested with a peak in 2009 of 454,700 hectares.

‚As we approach Rio+20 in which the world will define the targets that will guide us along the road to a more sustainable development, it is critical that we deploy the appropriate tools to carefully monitor and manage our landscapes,‘ said Dr Mulligan.

‚We need to ensure that we maintain enough farmland to feed the nine billion to come but we must also have protected natural landscapes that provide clean water, a stable climate, a refuge for biodiversity and space for increasingly urbanised populations to experience and appreciate the wonders of nature.

‚Achieving the right balance between intelligently intensive agriculture and protected natural environments across the world will be fundamental to achieving truly sustainable development and requires sophisticated, geographically detailed and timely tools such as Terra-i to support appropriate policy and decision-making‘.

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Douglas Fairbanks as Robin Hood; a screenshot ...
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Joe Arpaio may be known as Sheriff Joe, but it’s also been proven he has little respect for the law if he deems it inconvenient to his beliefs. He is, of course, a frequent violator of civil rights (as viewed by the United States Justice Department) and used taxpayer funds to investigate his (debunked) conspiracy theory about Obama’s birth certificate. Distilled, it all boils down to Sheriff Joe being an archetypal old-style racist—one whose actions are consistently appalling despite never deviating from script. Of course, Arpaio’s actions were textbook the day President Obama announced he would soften his policies on deporting young immigrants:    Read more

By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd | AlterNet
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The European Problem
The intrigue is at its height

By Bob Chapman

January 11, 2012 „International Forecaster“ —  The hand of the US elitists shows more each day in the decisions being made in Europe. Mario Draghi, ex-Goldman Sachs, Trilateralist and Bilderberg, is putting everything in place just the way the US elitists want. We are about to see full scale quantitative easing. One trillion in loans times fractional lending of 3 to 9 to whatever will give Europe the funds it needs indefinitely. Europe is going to be a rerun of what we have seen in the UK and US. In behalf of German voters who are 65% against such funding, Chancellor Merkel has refused to allow issuance of Eurobonds or an expansion of the EFSF. Draghi at the head of the ECB is now putting pressure on Mrs. Merkel to drop back to a more defensive position. The intrigue is at its height. If Frau Merkel gives into Draghi she and her party will not score well in the next election and may even lose political control. That could cause Germany to consider leaving the euro, which would destroy the euro zone. There are major dangers here and all the players are well aware of it. Agreement will take time and if it is not reached everything could short circuit, other than the fact that the Fed has put the funds in place. The other objective of getting Germany to whole-heartedly accept the bailout and stimulation is another matter. Confusion reigns even among the participants. The US, UK, France and their front men, Draghi, Monti and Papademos are all moving forward. The price will be very high from an inflationary standpoint, but to the elitists that isn’t even a consideration. They could care less. That is why you want to have your assets invested in gold and silver related assets. We could be headed toward another Weimer episode.
…. Please, read more there: International Forecaster/InformationClearingHouse

 

 

: Information Clearing House.

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The Ethical Thing To Do | Common Dreams


The Ethical Thing To Do | Common Dreams.

All Rights there

 

The Ethical Thing To Do

Cognitive Dissonance Dept: L.A.’s Cedars-Sinai Hospital is denying a liver transplant to a cancer patient because he used medical marijuana – legal in California and prescribed by his Cedars doctor – to ease the effects of  chemotherapy.Hospital officials say Norman Smith, 63, must stop using pot for six months, undergo random drug testing, and do weekly substance-abuse counseling before they will consider putting him back on the list. The medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access says Cedars-Sinai should change its policy. It’s tough to argue.