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Science. 2017 May 12;356(6338):635-638. doi: 10.1126/science.aam6527.

The extent of forest in dryland biomes.

Author information

1
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Vialle delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy. bastin.jf@gmail.com rene.castro@fao.org.
2
Landscape Ecology and Plant Production Systems Unit, Université libre de Bruxelles, CP264-2, B-1050, Bruxelles, Belgium.
3
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Vialle delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy.
4
School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK.
5
Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3QY, UK.
6
United Nations Development Programme, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, New York, NY 10017, USA.
7
Google, Mountain View, CA, USA.
8
Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network, School of Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Adelaide, Australia.
9
Instituto Argentino de Investigaciones de las Zonas Áridas-Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Mendoza, Argentina.
10
Ministry of Agriculture, General Directorate of Forests-Inventory Service, Tunis-Tunisia.
11
Bartın University, Faculty of Forestry, Department of Forest Engineering, Bartın, Turkey.
12
Department of Environmental Biology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
13
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Subregional Office for Central Asia, Ankara, Turkey.
14
Technical University of Madrid (UPM), Department of Forest and Environmental Engineering and Management, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros de Montes, Ciudad Universitaria, Madrid 28040, Spain.
15
Department of Forest Ecology and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-901 83 Umeå, Sweden.
16
Environment Institute and School of Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide, North terrace, Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia.
17
Centre Régional AGRHYMET, Niamey BP 11011, Niger.
18
Interior West-Forest Inventory and Analysis, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Fort Collins, USA.
19
Instituto Nacional di Semiarido, 10067 Bairro Serrotão, Brazil.
20
World Resources Institute, 10 G Street NE, Washington, DC 20002, USA.
21
Department of Forest and Hunting Inventory of Kyrgyztan, Bishkek, Kyrgyztan.

Abstract

Dryland biomes cover two-fifths of Earth's land surface, but their forest area is poorly known. Here, we report an estimate of global forest extent in dryland biomes, based on analyzing more than 210,000 0.5-hectare sample plots through a photo-interpretation approach using large databases of satellite imagery at (i) very high spatial resolution and (ii) very high temporal resolution, which are available through the Google Earth platform. We show that in 2015, 1327 million hectares of drylands had more than 10% tree-cover, and 1079 million hectares comprised forest. Our estimate is 40 to 47% higher than previous estimates, corresponding to 467 million hectares of forest that have never been reported before. This increases current estimates of global forest cover by at least 9%.

PMID:
28495750
DOI:
10.1126/science.aam6527
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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