Satellite alerts have helped to decrease deforestation by 18% within two years in African countries. These African countries subscribed to satellite alerts to detect any decrease in forest cover in the tropics. By reducing deforestation, African countries can avoid carbon emissions in the environment.
The Global Land Analysis and Discovery System (GLAD) offers high-resolution alerts anytime it detects any drop in forest cover. Countries that have interests in putting an end to deforestation can subscribe to these satellite alerts.
Fanny Moffette, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Wisconsin led the research. Moffette partnered with Amy Pickens at the University of Maryland, Jennifer Alix-Garcia at Oregon State University, and Katherine Shea at the World Resources Institute.
This team of researchers studied deforestation in countries across Asia, Africa, and America from 2011 to 2018. Moffette and other researchers made research to understand if these types of automated alerts could help to reduce the goal of reducing deforestation, which has adverse effects on the global climate.
Preventing deforestation is more effective than re-growing forests when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. African countries that subscribed to the satellite alerts experienced a decline in deforestation.
“The first question was to look at whether there was any impact from having access to this free alert system. Then we were looking at the effect of users subscribing to this data to receive alerts for a specific area.” Moffette
According to Moffette, we can see the impacts of these alerts in Africa because GLAD put more effort in these African countries since there was evidence that other countries like Peru and Indonesia were already using monitoring systems.
The GLAD program is still new and as more countries subscribe to it, the influence of the system may grow. This satellite system has a very high resolution and can provide alerts every eight days if the skies are free of cloud.