Forests around the world have found new hope from an unlikely source: lasers. An emerging system for measuring carbon on the forest floor called Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) uses the latest in laser technology as a precise tool that will support global efforts to resist climate change.
Scientists say that destruction to world forests is the second greatest contributing factor to climate change, with the combustion of fossil fuels being the second. Therefore LiDAR could prove to be one of the most effective methods ever discovered for keeping tabs on the immense rain forest and other wilderness areas that dot the globe.
The tracking of forested areas on the earth is only part of the effort for combating climate change. The remainder constitutes an agreement derived from a world conference on climate change that was held in Cancun, Mexico that will hold countries accountable for the way they manage their forests.
As reported by MSNBC, that agreement, called Reducing Emissions form Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) uses climate change principles to redistribute the world’s wealth.
The way REDD works is by sending payments to nations that put the brakes on the deforestation of their territory and by making others who continue irresponsible logging practices pay penalties. Of course, the dilemma confronting signatories to REDD is a reliable way to measure the forestry activities of the world’s nations. Enter LiDAR.
Because of its supposed pinpoint accuracy, global authorities in charge of REDD can tell for sure who has been working to support the anti-deforestation agenda and who has continued to harvest forests for their natural resources. Armed with the evidence of growing or shrinking woodlands, the managing officials will send some nations bills and other nations checks.
For its role as an emerging technology, LiDAR has already proven itself as a tool used by the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) to monitor the habitats of tigers in the nation of Nepal. The WWF is working feverishly to preserve and expand the population of tigers in that region, however officials have needed to make sure their forests are not illegally tapped for their timbers.
The monitoring has already proven successful and now LiDAR is being used to enforce REDD policies in the region. After mapping the forests of Nepal, the next step is to use the laser system to record forestry data in Thailand.
Once perfected, these lasers will help save the world’s forests and pressure governments around the world to act in the best interest of the planet as a whole, not just for the immediate needs of their local economies.