Saturday, October 22, 2005

Satellite images reveal Amazon forest shrinking faster |

New methods detect twice as much logging as previously estimated
By Peter N. Spotts | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
Brazil's Amazon rain forest - one of the most biologically productive regions on the planet - is disappearing twice as fast as scientists previously estimated.

That is the stark conclusion ecologist Gregory Asner and his colleagues reached after developing a new way to analyze satellite images to track logging there.

The team traces the additional loss to selective logging, which some environmental groups say is occurring illegally. The technique removes trees piecemeal from a forest, rather than carving large swaths. This has made it easier to hide. This project is the first time satellites have been used to track selective logging. [Editor's note: The original version identified selective logging as illegal. Not all groups agree that the practice always occurs illegally.]

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