Hidden Logging in Tropical Forests Revealed

Tropical forest deforestation in Google EarthA research paper has been published by the Carnegie Institution of Washington which reveals the amount of tropical forest degredation due to logging has been underestimated by half. Loggers have been secretly entering the forests and selectively cutting down trees under the tropical forest canopy one by one. The scientists have developed a method to penetrate the forest canopy and using computational methods combined with on-ground studies they can detect the forest degredation. Carnegie’s Dr. Gregory Asner says: “Selective logging negatively impacts many plants and animals and increases erosion and fires.”
This photo from the research paper shows a Google Earth screenshot with an image overlay showing the extent of the selective logging. Dr. Asner was unable to provide the Google Earth image overlay to me at this time due to publishing issues. I hope this research paper helps raise awareness of the terrible destruction of countless species of plants, insects, and wildlife due to logging. There is also scientific evidence that deforestation is damaging our atmosphere (carbon dioxide).

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. Here’s the link to the google earth layout for the selective logging in the Brazilian Amazon:

Leave a Reply