Google launches deforestation watch website


Am I misinterpreting something, or are they measuring “deforestation” down to the gain or loss of single trees in some places?

I zoomed in on my neighborhood. There was a big reddish blotch, maybe 30x30 pixels, where they put in a new subdevelopment a few years ago–okay. But then I noticed there were both red and blue one-pixel spots in my own area, where the houses are all 30+ years old and there hasn’t been any other development. The pixels would be considerably smaller than individual yards at that magnification.

Is that what’s going on, or is it just noisy data? I guess technologically there’s no obstacle to literally counting every individually distinguishable tree, I’m just surprised.


i’d imagine it’s a mix of vetted scientific data (esp. for areas of specific interest like the Amazon), together with some automagical data-mining algorithms applied to satellite imagery. especially with longitudinal data, i imagine this could work reasonably well.

and yeah, that’s pretty much it. very interesting details here:

for example: “This base map depicts the highest points in the forest canopy. Its spatial resolution is 0.6 miles (1 km) and was validated against data from a network of nearly 70 ground sites around the world… The map was created using 2.5 million carefully screened, globally distributed laser pulse measurements from space…” cool!

Why on hell I need to apply to a Terms & Conditions document to see a MAP?!

No sir, I’m done accepting EULAs.


I’m curious to see, but I know it’d depress the hell out of me, so I won’t look.

Who accepts them? We tolerate them; it’s Hobson’s choice.

Unless you can find deforestation mapz…

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Proud that my home state of Kansas looks to be doing really well with deforestation.

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Keep in mind that the deforestation in western Canada is mainly due to the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation than has decimated our forests. The lumber companies are taking down this timber, but replanting more than they take down, in order to keep themselves alive further down the road.

FWIW, I work for a very large lumber company in western Canada, but am not in any way an authorized representative.


we’ve been hit pretty hard by the pine beetle here in Oregon and Washington as well. i’m not saying we’re replanting better or not. i’m sure the pine beetle’s range depends on several factors.
oregon appears to manage its forests pretty well (i’m a non-expert) and we have a large industry with thousands of jobs because of it. …and i’m a tree hugging backpacker that restores axes and saws.

You click agree to the T&C, then a box pops up demanding that you acknowledge that you clicked agree.

Seriously, those people need to loosen up.

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it’s EULAs all the way down.

Well, that’s one way to look at data. Another would be to show a map of “re-forestation”. But sorry if that might disturb the force.

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