“Combining Census Data with Satellite Imagery to Reveal Tropical Forest Carbon Emissions Due to Social Change”
This project is sponsored by Clare Hallward and Mary Hallward-Driemeier
This project, based in Panama, expands Dr. Sloan’s 2009 Lindbergh Grant research.
In his previous research, Dr. Sloan integrated satellite and census data to observe forest regeneration since 1980 and quantify those socio-economic trends that have given rise to it. This work revealed how and where socio-economic development promoted tropical forest regeneration, and the extent to which tropical countries might purposefully induce such regeneration with economic policy. This research particularly informs the nascent global scheme known as REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation), which would economically reward tropical countries to the extent they reduce deforestation.
In this next phase of his research, Dr Sloan will utilize spatial models to explore how well the interplay between socio-economic change, regeneration and deforestation in Panama may be projected into the future. This exercise will serve two goals: (1) it will provide a measure of the predictability of forest-cover change (e.g., deforestation, regeneration), which is essential to the concept of ‘baseline’ rates of deforestation inherent to the REDD scheme, and (2) it will indicate the likely efficacy of investments in socio-economic development that have forest conservation as their ultimate goal.