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Studying deforestation rates from map images:

In addition to helping locate sites for the expeditions, we can use remote sensing and Geographical Information System to calculate rates of deforestation, which is a really important consideration at this point in time. We can also analyze threats to regions. The first Landsat satellite was launched in 1972. Landsat 1,2, and 3 had a repeated cycle of 18 days, which means that every 18 days you could potentially get a new image of an area, the same location on earth. Landsat 4 and 5 had a 16 day repeat cycle - most of the data from these satellites have been archived, part of which is available on the web, as we showed you earlier on the data ordering.

This gives us an incredibly large historical data set for looking at deforestation rates in places like Vietnam. And by looking at the land conversion patterns of the last 20 years we can calculate the rates of deforestation and we can create predictive models that will allow us to identify areas with a high potential of being deforested. The data can then be analyzed and connections can be made to the cause of deforestation. Armed with this data and other information collected from the field, we can focus our preservation efforts and make practical recommendations to the government about where reserves should be and what management for those reserves should be like.

In the near future:

We leave for the field in February to identify this site and to ground truth to the question areas, so I don't have a finite end to this story about Ngoc Linh. But I will say that next year we're also going to be working farther to the north in an area close to the border in China in the southern most regions of the Himalayas. We'll be working with the government to identify further needs for the protected areas within this area which, as you can see, has almost none.   Thank you.

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