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A team of Researchers at the University of Maryland have developed a 30-meter resolution forest cover data set that could boost our  efforts to track deforestation and forest degradation.

The dataset, which is published in the International Journal of Digital Earth, is based on combining data from two satellite sensor systems: 250-meter resolution MOderate-resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) and 30-meter Landsat imagery. The merger results is a tree cover layer that is more accurate than the industry standard for global forest measurement: the MODIS-based Vegetation Continuous Fields (VCF) dataset.

The development is more important because land-use changes like deforestation, forest degradation, and reforestation often occur at scales too small to detect with conventional VCF-based systems, according to the study’s lead author Joseph Sexton.

The development may  prove a “game changer” for tracking changes in forest cover.

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