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JRC scientists help to discover possibility of lower greenhouse gas emissions

The level of the Earth's forest cover is higher than expected opening the possibility of lower levels of greenhouse gases, according to new research using satellite imaging. Scientists from the European Commission's Joint research centre's (JRC) Directorate of science strateg...

The level of the Earth's forest cover is higher than expected opening the possibility of lower levels of greenhouse gases, according to new research using satellite imaging. Scientists from the European Commission's Joint research centre's (JRC) Directorate of science strategy and institute for environment and sustainability participated in the project, along with UK firm Conservation technology Ltd. They found that the standard estimates of forest cover, levels of reduction and consequently greenhouse gas emission levels were off the mark, and that the situation is less serious than expected. Using satellite imagery as part of a new statistical sampling survey, the research team found that between 1990 and 1997 around 5.8 million hectares of humid tropical forest cover were lost each year, while a further approximate 2.3 million hectares were visibly degraded. These figures are around 23 per cent lower than those used by the United Nations food and agricultural organisation (FAO), whose figures are based on expert opinions and secondary information from the countries concerned. In addition, the researchers found that the results from their use of long term models for biomass conversion into carbon dioxide showed significantly lower predicted levels than those reported by the UN's intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) for the years 1989 to 1998. You can access freely to the following article: Achard F., Eva H. D., Stibig H-J., Mayaux P., Gallego J., Richards T. & J.-P. Malingreau, 2002.Determination of Deforestation Rates of the World's Humid Tropical Forests Science 297:999-1002. through our web site: http://www.gvm.sai.jrc.it/Forest/defaultForest.htm then go to publications and select the link to the article abstract or full text (or directly at: http://www.gvm.sai.jrc.it/Forest/PublicationsForest.htm)