The forests of Papua New Guinea form the eastern half of the third largest continuous area of tropical forest left in the World. These forests sustain PNG’s largely rural population, provide an important safety net when crops fail, in times of economic crisis or conflict, and when natural disasters strike. They also play a role in regulating global climate, store a substantial amount of atmospheric carbon, purify water, maintain the health of fish stocks, mangroves and estuaries, as well as preserving soil stability and fertility. In recent decades, however, there has been an expansion of industrial logging, as well as clearing of natural forests for agriculture. These processes threaten the future of PNG’s forests and the services they provide.
In an era of global warming and rapid ecosystem changes, understanding what is happening to PNG’s forests is critically important. The PNG Forest Observatory is an interactive website designed to show the extent of PNG’s forests and the locations where clearing and logging have occurred between 2002 and 2014. For the first time, a detailed vegetation map of PNG for 2014, created for the Observatory is available on the website. In addition, the areas of forest cleared since 2002 are mapped, as are the areas that have been logged.
The PNG Forest Observatory website provides a way for the people of PNG and beyond to see what is happening in PNG’s forests.
PNG Remote Sensing Centre Ltd PO Box 1774, Waterfront Post Office, Konedobu NCD, Papua New Guinea
The PNG Forest Observatory is an interactive website showing the vegetation map of PNG in 2014, as well as maps of the area of forest cleared and logged over the period 2002-2014. Maps of the areas that have been logged and cleared since 2002 were created primarily using Landsat 8 imagery (courtesy of US Geological Survey) recorded between 2013 and 2015, in conjunction with the CLASlite program and PNGRSC mapping. In some locations the University of Maryland Global Forest Change 2000-2012 surface (Source: Hansen/UMD/ Google/USGS/NASA), edited for PNG conditions was used to identify recent forest clearance.