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Published on Apr 27, 2018
Forests are living, ever changing ecosystems, affected by aging, natural disasters and human interventions.
Annual maps of the lower-48 United States produced from satellite data illustrate how these dynamic systems changed from 1986-2010. Logging and hurricanes play a significant role in the Southeast, and fires and insect invasion damage forest canopy in the West.
Trees are one of the world's best absorbers of atmospheric carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. Understanding how trees and forests change through time is one of the first steps to understanding how active they are in pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, which is of profound interest to scientists monitoring climate change.
Developed for the North American Forest Dynamics study, scientists combined 25 years of satellite data from the joint U.S. Geological Survey/NASA Landsat satellite program with information from the U.S. Forest Service to highlight where forest canopy was disturbed.
Credits: Matthew R. Radcliff (USRA): Lead Producer Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC): Lead Animator Jeffrey Masek (NASA/GSFC): Scientist Jeffrey Masek (NASA/GSFC): Writer Matthew R. Radcliff (USRA): Writer Chengquan Huang (University of Maryland): Scientist Feng Zhao (University of Maryland): Scientist Joy Ng (USRA): Lead Producer
This video is public domain and along with other supporting visualizations can be downloaded from the Scientific Visualization Studio.