Google Inc. is joining forces with space agencies around the world and the conservation organization Group on Earth Observations (GEO) to monitor deforestation rates using satellite imagery. Among the space agencies working on the program are NASA, the ESA, and the national space agencies of Japan, Germany, Italy, India, and Brazil.
The GEO is a global partnership of 80 governments and more than 50 organizations. Internet company Google currently collects satellite images for use in its Google Earth application, and will be providing satellite images to the project.
Annual monitoring via satellite images will help identify changes in areas of forest more accurately than ever before. The data will be important in helping support programs in which governments, environmental groups, and investors pay to protect certain forests.
“Investors will want some sort of guarantee that…forests will remain there and remain in good condition.” – José Achache, director of GEO
Reuters reports that seven countries would act as pilot programs including Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Guyana, Indonesia, Mexico, and Tanzania. All of these locations have had satellite images taken in the last few months. The U.S. has satellite images from Landsat going all the way back to 1972 to use for comparisons.
Image Credit: Si1very on Flickr