Shrinking Forest - Growing Problem

Rudiger Gens, Alaska Satellite Facility, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks,
Anupma Prakash, Geophysical Institute and Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Alaska Fairbanks,
Candace O'Connor, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks,
Gary Cooper, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks,
Shusun Li, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks,
David McGraw, Montpelier High School,
Betsy Youngman, TERC Education Consultant,, contributor
Carla McAuliffe, Center for Science Teaching and Learning at TERC,, contributor

Published: February 2010. Last Updated: May 2011.


The Amazon rainforest in Brazil, courtesy of NASA.

In this chapter, you will learn to measure land use change over time. Download and compare Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite images of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil for 1994, 1995, and 1996.

Then use ImageJ, a public domain image analysis program, to identify forested and deforested land. Next, you will measure and compare the amounts of each. As a final product, you will create and interpret a color-coded image showing the oldest to most recently deforested areas for the three-year period.

This chapter is part of the Earth Exploration Toolbook. Each chapter provides teachers and/or students with direct practice for using scientific tools to analyze Earth science data. Students should begin on the Case Study page.

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