Back in 2005 Julian Bayliss, a biologist at London’s Kew Gardens, discovered a brand new rainforest that had previously never been studied — and he found it using Google Earth.
According to author Ken Jennings:
Julian Bayliss, a British scientist specializing in plant conservation, was browsing for possible African rainforest sites on Google Earth when he stumbled on aerial photographs of Mount Mabu, a lush peak rising above the savannah of central Mozambique. He was surprised to find 27 square miles of medium-altitude rainforest—the largest in Africa—that, to his knowledge, no one had ever studied.
How could a whole rainforest hide in plain sight for so long? Locals in the area knew about Mount Mabu, of course, but the combination of a lack of roads in the area and a long-running civil war had kept outsiders away. Mount Mabu—the “Google Forest,” as it came to be called—had never been logged. It had never even been mapped.
It’s a fascinating story, as we always tend to assume that the world has been fully explored and tools like Google Earth are simply a way to see it again, but that’s not always the case. I encourage you to read Ken’s fully story to learn more.
About Mickey Mellen
Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.
Hannes Botha says
South African researchers have long ago beaten the Brits to the “discovery” of Mount Mabu’s unique flora and fauna. See for example “A new species of chameleon (Sauria: Chamaeleonidae: Nadzikambia) from Mount Mabu, central Mozambique”, African Journal of Hepetology, Oct2010, Vol. 59 Issue 2, p157-172.