Thursday, June 22, 2017

Degradation of the Amazon Rainforests

Most people are aware of the devastating effect of deforestation on the Amazon Rainforest. Not so many people are aware of the equally worrying 'degradation' of forests. With deforestation the forest is completely cleared and left for pasture, monoculture or simply abandoned. Forest degradation is the thinning of tree density which leads to the removal of important biodiversity. It is often caused by logging, fire, drought or hunting.

The extensive forest clearance caused by deforestation can be relatively easy to spot using aerial surveys or even satellite imagery. Forest degradation on the other hand can be a lot harder to monitor from the air as the tree canopy can still exist above the thinning tree density.

The Silent Forest project has been started by a team of Brazilian and foreign scientists to assess the extent and impact of forest degradation in the Amazon Rainforest. As part of this monitoring the project has released an interactive map to show Contributing Factors to Degradation in the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest. The map shows the extent to which fire, logging, hunting and fragmentation are leading to forest degradation.

The Silent Forest website also includes a hexagon grid map of the Brazilian state of ParĂ¡. The grid map shows the percentage loss of biodiversity across the whole state.

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