Indonesia: Mongabay, an environmental news website, along with NASA developed a platform, which uses remote sensing satellite images to track forest loss every quarter. Mongabay introduced this tool in its recently launched website for Indonesia.
Rhett Butler, founder of Mongabay, explained that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) can use the deforestation alert tool to enter areas where trees are being cut, determine why that is happening and then work with local communities to stop deforestation. The government could also use the tool to determine if companies operating in deforested areas have the proper licenses.
Indonesia has the world’s third largest tropical rainforest after Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It also has some of the most diverse plant and animal life on the planet. But in the past two decades more than 24 million hectares of forest have been cleared. Much of that clearing has been done to make way for palm oil plantations.
Indonesia has struggled to conserve its forests while also maintaining high economic growth. Much of its economy depends on the sale of timber and other forest-based products, like palm oil. The government issues land-use permits to determine which areas should be preserved and which can be developed. But Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, Chair of the REDD+ Task Force, which helps coordinate activities aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation, observed that the problem is in creating one uniform map for issuing land-use permits.
Meanwhile, environmental groups are developing mapping systems like the forest cover analyser, a tool soon to be launched by the World Resource Institute, a global environmental think tank, to track the forest losses.