Tropical forests provide habitat for most of the world’s known terrestrial plant and animal species. These ecosystems are under increasing threat worldwide. During the last decades, several million hectares of humid tropical forest were lost each year. Despite the proliferation of new remote sensing technologies, information about the status of world’s forest is limited and unevenly distributed.
The immense task of protecting for future generations an adequate share of world’s remaining forest is outside the reach of traditional conservation strategies alone. It calls for collective action to complement existing initiatives.
ForestWatchers proposes a new paradigm in conservationism based on the convergence of volunteer computing/thinking with free (or donated) catalogs of high-resolution Earth imagery.
This application tries to reflect one of the first steps carried out by deforestation experts when they assess deforestation for a given area of the forest.In this first step, the experts compare several satellite images from the same area using pictures from different days. Why? Because some days some parts of the selected area will be fully or partially covered by clouds making impossible to analyze the deforestation. For this reason, the experts "cut & copy" the good areas creating a "collage", or composite image, that will be almost "cloud-free". This final image will be used in the next steps to study and analyze the deforestation of the area.
The ForestWatchers application gives you the option to participate and become one of these experts as you will be able to choose from different days which are the best parts of the image for creating the final one. With the collaboration of many volunteers this step could be done much faster and probably better. Thus, if you want to help just start contributing!
The results presented here are based on the answers from volunteers. The resulting images are updated 4 times per day.
If you click on the Layers button on the right-hand side, you can select to see just the tasks that are completed, which are those tasks where a minimum of 30 people agreed on the best tile.
You can also overlay rivers (hydrography), conservation areas and indigenous reserves.
If a task is not completed, the image shown is that from the first day of the series.
The Heat map represents the confidence in the selected tile. Red color is used to represent when the community does not fully agree on the same tile for an area, while blue is used to represent when most of the volunteers agree on the same time:
We are building two heat maps:
We are expecting that the heat map for the entire area will be dominated by blue color since it has not received enough votes yet.