Friday, October 21, 2005

Revealed: the true devastation of the rainforest

The satellite technique developed by the scientists at Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution allows the scientists to peer through the dense forest canopy to find out what is happening underneath.

The signals they have exploited show how much green vegetation is in the canopy, how much dead material is on the forest floor and how much bare soil there is, Dr Asner said.

Over the course of four years, the scientists amassed the first full survey of selective logging across the Amazon basin. "We found much more selective logging than we or anyone else had expected - between 4,600 and 8,000 square miles every year of forest spread across five Brazilian states," said Dr Asner.

To make sure their assessments were correct, the scientists went out into the field to compare their satellite data to what they could observe from the ground.

The findings confirmed their worst suspicions - that conventional satellite photography has missed about half of the damage caused by illegal logging.

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