Quantifying forest cover loss in Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2000-2010, with Landsat ETM+ data

Elsevier Inc.
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Remote Sensing of Environment, 2012, 122 pp. 106 - 116
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Forest cover and forest cover loss for the last decade, 2000â2010, have been quantified for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) using Landsat time-series data set. This was made possible via an exhaustive mining of the Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) archive. A total of 8881 images were processed to create multi-temporal image metrics resulting in 99.6% of the DRC land area covered by cloud-free Landsat observations. To facilitate image compositing, a top-of-atmosphere (TOA) reflectance calibration and image normalization using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) top of canopy (TOC) reflectance data sets were performed. Mapping and change detection was implemented using a classification tree algorithm. The national year 2000 forest cover was estimated to be 159,529.2 thousand hectares, with gross forest cover loss for the last decade totaling 2.3% of forest area. Forest cover loss area increased by 13.8% between the 2000â2005 and 2005â2010 intervals, with the greatest increase occurring within primary humid tropical forests. Forest loss intensity was distributed unevenly and associated with areas of high population density and mining activity. While forest cover loss is comparatively low in protected areas and priority conservation landscapes compared to forests outside of such areas, gross forest cover loss for all nature protection areas increased by 64% over the 2000 to 2005 and 2005 to 2010 intervals.
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