Technical Comments

Comment on “High-resolution global maps of 21st-century forest cover change”

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Science  30 May 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6187, pp. 981
DOI: 10.1126/science.1248753


  • Fig. 1 Selected examples of Hansen et al.’s (1) failures in classifying of tree plantations (A to E) and herbal crops (F to H) as forest.

    All the maps are screenshots from Hansen et al.’s supplementary online map application ( taken in November 2013 and modified to highlight details by adding the yellow squares. The colors in the right halves of each panel indicate stable forest (green), forest loss (red), forest gain (blue), and forest loss and gain (magenta). See Table 1 for more details, including coordinates, and for several additional examples.


  • Table 1 Examples of serious misclassifications by Hansen et al. (1).

    Geographic coordinates allow easy checking of current vegetation in the supplementary online map application ( Hundreds of additional examples of similar errors can easily be found in the application map by simply following plantation maintenance roads. Often, even details such as individual oil palms or soybean rows are clearly visible.

    Case no.FigureCountryRegionLatitudeLongitudeHansen et al.Actual
    11APhilippinesDavao, Mindanao7°26'1.29''N125°38'6.26''EStable forestBanana
    21BEcuadorQuevedo, Los Rios1°0'46.76''S79°29'59.33''WForest with large regrowthOil palm
    31CCosta RicaDamas, Puntarenas9°31'59.50''N84°14'16.20''WForest with large regrowthOil palm
    41DMalaysiaSepang, Kuala Lumpur International Airport2°43'55.97''N101°40'49.64''EForest with large regrowthOil palm
    51ECameroonMundemba, Southwest4°57'1.16''N8°52'18.66''EForest with large clearings and regrowthOil palm
    6CameroonBafut-Ngemba, Forest Reserve Northwest Province5°54'11.90''N10°11'43.61''EStable forestEucalyptus
    7CameroonPenda Mboko, Southwest Province4°16'14.68''N9°26'12.66''EStable forestRubber
    8Malaysia (Borneo)Left bank of Kinabatangan River, Sabah5°32'40''N118°16’6''EForest with clearings and regrowthOil palm
    9PhilippinesSouth of Tagum, Davao del Norte7°21'28.04''N125°47'52.59''EStable forestCoconut
    10Papua New GuineaGusap, Morobe6°4'53.08''S146°0'12.95''ELarge forest regrowthOil palm
    11IndonesiaBogor, West Java6°30'47.64''S106°43'35.64''ELarge forest regrowthOil palm
    12IndonesiaNorth Konawe, Southeast Sulawesi3°12'40.73''S122°7'30.66''ELarge forest regrowthOil palm
    13VenezuelaCiudad Guayana, Bolívar State8°35'33.84''N62°35'54.19''WForest with large clearings and regrowthPine tree
    14PeruSanta Lucía,
    San Martín
    8°19'40.71''S76°29'50.67''WForest with large regrowthOil palm
    15BeninSaketé, Plateau Department6°48'36.02''N2°30'10.52''EForest with clearings and regrowthOil palm
    16Côte d’IvoireEbobo,
    5°15'43.42''N3°1'46.12''WForest with clearings and regrowthOil palm
    17NigeriaBenin City,
    Edo State
    6°9'39.23''N5°41'0.33''EForest with large regrowthOil palm
    18LiberiaKakata, Margibi6°32'6.47''N10°22'57.34''WForest with clearings and regrowthRubber tree
    19Guinea - ConacrySamaya/Kemaya, Dubréka10°2'28.65''N13°48'44.74''WLarge forest regrowthOil palm
    20CameroonNorthern border of Campo Ma’an National Park,
    South Province
    2°40'47.17''N10°13'8.11''ELarge forest regrowthNewly established rubber trees instead of freshly cut forest
    211FMadagascarAmbatoharanana, Sava14°32'30.80''S49°35'44.26''ELarge forest regrowthsVarious field crops
    221GBrazilTailândia, Pará2°39'50.20''S48°53'17.43''WForest with large regrowthSoybeans
    231HPhilippinesTupi, South Cotabato6°18'31.14''N124°58'17.75''EStable forestPineapple
    24CameroonNdawara Belo Ranch, Northwest Province6°4'41.37''N10°22'46.00''EForest with large regrowthTea

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