Land Remote Sensing Program
Land Remote Sensing Program Featured Science Archive
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A new study based on Landsat Earth-observing satellite data comprehensively describes changes in the world's forests from the beginning of this century. Published in Science today, the study found that from 2000 to 2012 global forests experienced a loss of 888,000 square miles (2.3 million square kilometers), roughly the land area of the U.S. states east of the Mississippi River. During the study period, global forests also gained an area of 309,000 square miles (800,000 square kilometers), approximately the combined land area of Texas and Louisiana.
"Tracking changes in the world's forests is critical because forests have direct impacts on local and national economies, on climate and local weather, and on wildlife and clean water," said Anne Castle, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science. "This fresh view of recent changes in the world's forests is thorough, objective, visually compelling, and vitally important."
The Department of the Interior has released its remote sensing activities report for Fiscal Year 2011 (FY11). This report from the DOI Remote Sensing Working Group (DOIRSWG) provides a sampling of the many FY11 applications of remote sensing across the Department. Remotely sensed data, information, and resources contribute significantly to mission-critical work across the DOI. Spanning data sources from aerial photography, to moderate resolution satellite data, to highly specialized imaging sensors and platforms, DOI personnel use remotely sensing capabilities to evaluate and monitor land-surface conditions over the vast areas for which DOI has responsibility.
Landsat satellites provide decision makers with key information about the world's food, forests, water and how these and other land resources are being used. The Landsat Application Book, Landsat: Continuing to Improve Everyday Life (PDF, 101 Mb), explores a number of important everyday uses of Landsat that benefit us as a society. The launch of the LDCM satellite ensures that Landsat data will continue to enable these applications.
Global climate is changing. USGS is using remote sensing data to help develop new climate information products called Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) and Climate Data Records (CDRs). Together, USGS CDRs and ECVs can provide an authoritative basis for regional to continental scale identification of historical change, monitoring of current conditions, and predicting future scenarios. Find out more...
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