NbS: Estimate forest cover from deforestation data

Modified on Tue, 28 Mar 2023 at 01:30 PM

This template project uses historical forest loss to assess forest cover and whether this has decreased due to forest loss. This template will enable you to get a high-level overview of forest cover for your project area and whether any forest has been lost during the past 20 years.


Demonstration Video

What should I use this template for?

This template should be used to undertake a quick assessment of forest cover and whether this has decreased over the past 20 years

What data has been used?

The data used in this template is the Hansen Global Forest Change v1.8 dataset. This dataset shows annually updated global-scale forest loss, derived using Landsat time-series imagery from 2000-present. The data are provided by the Global Land Analysis and Discovery (GLAD) laboratory at the University of Maryland, in partnership with Global Forest Watch (GFW) and represent a relative indicator of spatiotemporal trends in forest loss dynamics globally. Users should beware of potential inconsistencies in these data due to differences in data density, processing and instrumentation over the 20+ year time period. 2012 in particular had reduced coverage due to only one satellite in operation that year.

This dataset is updated on an annual basis, with the 2022 forest loss data predicted to be available sometime in mid-2023. It takes many months for the dataset providers to produce the update because they are processing raw satellite imagery for a whole year across the whole globe.

Other land cover classification datasets can be used as a comparison. This article explores this in more detail.

These datasets give you a good high-level overview of forest extent in your area, and how that has changed over time. However, for verification purposes, the accuracy of this analysis can be both improved and extended back to 1982 using additional data sources such as Landsat.

What do the outputs show me?

Map Outputs

This template project has two map output layers. This shows an estimate of forest extent between 2000 and 2021. One map layer is a static tree cover map from 2000, and the other is an animated time series of forest extent between 2001 and 2021. The legend on the left-hand side tells us that the colour scheme relates to the percentage of tree cover for both map layers.

Dashboard Outputs

If we look at the dashboard tab, you will see that we have two charts and tables. The Estimated Forest Cover Area (Ha) chart shows the area of forest in hectares on an annual basis from 2001 to 2021, whilst the Estimated Forest Cover Area (% of AOI) shows the same information, but this time with forest cover expressed as a percentage of the total Area of Interest. The tables show the same information in tabular format. The charts can be downloaded as an image using the download button at the bottom-left of the chart. You will have the choice of downloading it as an image, or the underlying data as a CSV spreadsheet. Whilst the tables can be exported as a CSV. This is true of all charts and tables created with Earth Blox.

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