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Determination of Deforestation Rates of the World's Humid Tropical Forests

Science  09 Aug 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5583, pp. 999-1002
DOI: 10.1126/science.1070656

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Abstract

A recently completed research program (TREES) employing the global imaging capabilities of Earth-observing satellites provides updated information on the status of the world's humid tropical forest cover. Between 1990 and 1997, 5.8 ± 1.4 million hectares of humid tropical forest were lost each year, with a further 2.3 ± 0.7 million hectares of forest visibly degraded. These figures indicate that the global net rate of change in forest cover for the humid tropics is 23% lower than the generally accepted rate. This result affects the calculation of carbon fluxes in the global budget and means that the terrestrial sink is smaller than previously inferred.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: frederic.achard{at}jrc.it

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