Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Amazon destruction speeds up

As we'll see a bit later in the course, although we have problems estimating species diversity and, consequently, monitoring species loss, what we are good at doing is at measuring habitat loss. Why? Because you can measure it from satellite images. So whenever you see an estimate of the number of acres of rainforest being lost and the number of species within the rainforest going extinct remember that the first estimate is pretty good, with a few minor problems such as cloud cover, and the second estimate may have some huge errors associated with it and is often based on some very dubious assumptions.

This ties in to today's lecture but also to this news story you may have seen today which revealed that the Amazonian rainforest is being deforested three times more rapidly than last year. The global spike in food prices is being blamed for an increase in land cleared for soybean production.

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