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Breakthrough in monitoring tropical deforestation announced in Copenhagen
Date:12/10/2009

Palo Alto, CATropical forest destruction accounts for some 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions. But quantifying these emissions has not been easy, particularly for tropical nations. New technology, developed by a team of scientists at Carnegie's Department of Global Ecology, is revolutionizing forest monitoring by marrying free satellite imagery and powerful analytical methods in an easy-to-use, desktop software package called CLASlite. Thus far, 70 government, non-government, and academic organizations in five countries have adopted the technology, with more on the horizon. The team announced its new web site for CLASlite users at the Copenhagen climate meetings today (http://claslite.ciw.edu).

To support international policy discussions and to solve on-the-ground needs for forest monitoring, CLASlite is being rapidly disseminated through a tailored, demand-driven technology transfer to government, academic and non-government institutions of the Andes and Amazon regions.

"We're providing CLASlite to support the U.N. program for Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation [REDD] and other tropical forest monitoring efforts," remarked Greg Asner, the lead scientist for the CLASlite project. "My team has already trained more than 240 users from 70 organizations in the Andes-Amazon region, and we will do more workshops in 2010."

CLASlite is a software package designed to automatically identify deforestation and forest degradation from satellite imagery. The power of CLASlite rests in its unique ability to convert seemingly green "carpets" of dense tropical forest cover in raw satellite images into highly detailed maps that can be readily searched for deforestation, logging, and other types of forest degradation. CLASlite is also a key component of a cost-effective new method developed by Carnegie that integrates satellite and airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) mapping to s
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Contact: Greg Asner
gasner@ciw.edu
650-380-2828
Carnegie Institution
Source:Eurekalert  

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