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Potapov P.V.,University of Maryland University College | Dempewolf J.,University of Maryland University College | Talero Y.,University of Maryland University College | Hansen M.C.,University of Maryland University College | And 9 more authors.
Environmental Research Letters | Year: 2014

Transparent, consistent, and accurate national forest monitoring is required for successful implementation of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) programs. Collecting baseline information on forest extent and rates of forest loss is a first step for national forest monitoring in support of REDD+. Peru, with the second largest extent of Amazon basin rainforest, has made significant progress in advancing its forest monitoring capabilities. We present a national-scale humid tropical forest cover loss map derived by the Ministry of Environment REDD+ team in Peru. The map quantifies forest loss from 2000 to 2011 within the Peruvian portion of the Amazon basin using a rapid, semi-automated approach. The available archive of Landsat imagery (11 654 scenes) was processed and employed for change detection to obtain annual gross forest cover loss maps. A stratified sampling design and a combination of Landsat (30 m) and RapidEye (5 m) imagery as reference data were used to estimate the primary forest cover area, total gross forest cover loss area, proportion of primary forest clearing, and to validate the Landsat-based map. Sample-based estimates showed that 92.63% (SE = 2.16%) of the humid tropical forest biome area within the country was covered by primary forest in the year 2000. Total gross forest cover loss from 2000 to 2011 equaled 2.44% (SE = 0.16%) of the humid tropical forest biome area. Forest loss comprised 1.32% (SE = 0.37%) of primary forest area and 9.08% (SE = 4.04%) of secondary forest area. Validation confirmed a high accuracy of the Landsat-based forest cover loss map, with a producer's accuracy of 75.4% and user's accuracy of 92.2%. The majority of forest loss was due to clearing (92%) with the rest attributed to natural processes (flooding, fires, and windstorms). The implemented Landsat data processing and classification system may be used for operational annual forest cover loss updates at the national level for REDD+ applications. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd.

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