2011-05-31 08:39:40Chopping down the Amazon -- The Economist -- Excellent Graphic
John Hartz
John Hartz
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Deforestation

Chopping down the Amazon

May 26th 2011, 15:38 by The Economist online

Making sense of the numbers on the Brazilian Amazon

UNDERSTANDING what is happening to the world's largest tropical forest is hard: efforts to monitor deforestation in the Amazon are hampered by cloud cover, which can prevent satellites from getting a full picture of what's happening on the ground. The numbers also tend to ping around month by month, prompting alarm among conservationists one month and triumphalism from Brazil's government, which tries to prevent illegal logging, the next. The most recent release from Brazil's National Institute for Space Research showed a 473% increase in deforestation during March and April 2011 compared with the same period last year. This sounds alarming, and it may well turn out to be so. But it also comes in the context of falling deforestation. It will probably be a couple of years before it is possible to tell for sure whether the government's proposal to regularise land tenure in the Amazon region is resulting in more active chainsaws there.

2011-05-31 09:42:01About the graph of the countries with the most forest area...
John Hartz
John Hartz
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Some people posting on the comment thread are questioning its accuracy -- particlarly that the US has more hectres in forest area than Canada. I suspect that Alaska could be the reason why.

2011-05-31 16:17:19
Rob Painting
Rob
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Badger, someone (Paul D?) linked to another site where the satellite images are revealing massive deforestation in the last 8 months or so. The economist is somewhat behind the times. How shocking!.