Claim - “NASA recently released imagery showing the deforestation of America …in just 34 years” with a picture showing two earths, one from 1978 and the other from 2012.
Verdict - False, Misleading
I am not trying to argue about the effects our industrial civilization has had on our planet, or the damage we may or not be causing to it., but when people, if even for the best intentions, make and spread misinformation to further the causes they believe in, it tends to damage the credibility of that cause. Recently circulating around social media sites and blogs is an image that claims “NASA recently released imagery showing the deforestation of America …in just 34 years.”
Earth. Going bald, or just a bad case of fleas?
Maybe it looked too exaggerated, or maybe it was the lack of information behind it, but something didn’t seem quite right about the image. A Google search turned up a lot of results, but little explanation or information behind it. Searching Nasa’s site didn’t turn anything recent about deforestation, but i did find the separate images while going through the picture galleries. It wasn’t long and all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place. It turns out, our planet has an interesting phenomena that some of you may have heard about before called “seasons.”
As a result, a picture of the earth is only going to be as green as the season it was taken in. An image taken in July for instance will naturally look greener than one taken in January after the majority of trees have shed its leaves, The picture on the left is claimed to be from 1978, but in reality was taken by a multiple picture process by Nasa from June through September 2001, and was slightly edited to look slightly greener than the original. (Source) The second image on the right was taken by Nasa on January 4th, 2012 (Hi Res). According to Wikipedia, Most of the Deforestation in North America happened prior to 1910. Since then, forest resources have remained about the same, largely due to planting new trees to replace the ones that were removed.
While there may be no truth to the picture, it may still for a worthy enough cause. Old growth Forests around the world are still getting steamrolled by progress. In North America alone around 10,000 square kilometers (6213 miles) of old growth forests are harvested every year spelling disaster for countless species of plants, animals, and the people that rely on them to survive. Loggers go in and clean out the forests, and tree planters come in behind them and reseed the areas so they can be logged again in the future. In the meantime, all the plants and animals that used to depend on the forest no longer have a home, and many end up being crowded out , or simply dying off.
(Fact from Fiction)