Tropical forests harbour the highest biodiversity on the planet and are essential to human livelihoods and the global economy. However continued loss and degradation of forested landscapes, coupled with a rapidly rising global population, is placing incredible pressure on forests globally. The United Nations has developed the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD +) programme in response to the challenges facing tropical forests and in recognition of the role they can play in climate mitigation. REDD + requires consistent and reliable monitoring of forests, however, national-level methodologies for measuring degradation are often bespoke and, because of an inability to track degradation effectively, the majority of countries combine reporting for deforestation and forest degradation into a single value. Here, we extend a recent analysis that enabled the detection of selective logging at the scale of a logging concession to a regional-scale estimation of selective logging activities. We utilized logging records from across Brazil to train a supervised classification algorithm for detecting logged pixels in Landsat imagery then predicted the extent of logging over a 20 year period throughout Rondônia, Brazil. Approximately one-quarter of the forested lands in Rondônia were cleared between 2000 and 2019. We estimate that 11.0% of the forest area present in 2000 had been selectively logged by 2019, comprising >11 500 km2 of forest. In general, rates of selective logging were twice as high in the first decade relative to the last decade of the period. Our approach is a considerable advance in developing an operationalized selective logging monitoring system capable of detecting subtle forest disturbances over large spatial scales.
|Journal||Environmental Research Letters|
|Publication status||Published - 25 Aug 2020|
- School of Environmental Sciences - Professor of Environmental Sciences
- Environmental Biology - Member
- ClimateUEA - Member
Person: Research Group Member, Academic, Teaching & Research