EarthLabs > Climate and the Carbon Cycle: Unit Overview > Lab 4: Forests - Changes in the Land > 4B: Global Forest Watch: Keeping track of forests in real time!

Forests: Changes in the Land

Part B: Global Forest Watch: Keeping track of forests in real time!

According to the Scientific American, deforestation from logging, agricultural production and other economic activities adds more CO2to the atmosphere than the sum total of all the world's cars and trucks combined. Slowing the rate of deforestation thus becomes a valuable tool in slowing the rate of climate change.

In this Lab, you have the opportunity to use The Global Forest Watch tool to investigate changes in forest cover based on a research question of your own interest. An important part of your research will be to gather information from reliable sources on the Internet on why these changes in forest cover are happening. As you learned in Lab 4A, deforestation is caused by many complex economic, environmental, social and geopolitical variables. Finding viable solutions to deforestation requires understanding how all of these variables are interconnected. For example, on-going deforestation in Haiti is perhaps one of the most complex examples of deforestation and environmental degradation. If you look at the picture on the right, you will see that Haiti on the left is far more deforested than its neighbor, The Dominican Republic, on the right. Note: If you are interested in the Haiti deforestation case study, there are several resources included in the Extensions section at the bottom of this page.

World Resources Institute, Google, scientists and other partners have collaborated to produce "Global Forest Watch, " a mapping application that unites satellite technology, open data, and crowd sourcing to guarantee access to timely and reliable information about forests and deforestation. Governments, organizations, scientists and citizens can all use this mapping tool to access and generate data related to changes in forest cover. Watch this short Global Forest Watch video to introduce this powerful new tool. You will use this tool in a research task that is described below.

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