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Friday, January 29th, 2016  |  USD: Buy 531.29 / Sell 543.92
20 years

Satellite map reveals deforestation in Costa Rica and around the world

(Interactive Map: Use the zoom buttons our your mouse scroll wheel to zoom in and reveal detail of deforestation.  Click and drag to move around the region)

November 20th, 2013 ( An interactive map based on data analysis of images captured by Landsat satellites reveals the deforestation of Costa Rica between the years 2000 and 2012, which is most evident in the Nicoya Peninsula and the northern and southern zones of the country.  The University of Maryland in the United States published the work, which encompasses the entire globe’s forest loss.


While the map reveals deforestation in Costa Rica, it indicates the level of deforestation in Nicaragua during the period to have been worse.  Areas of red indicate loss of forest cover between the years 2000 and 2012.  The map also reveals significant deforestation in South America, in countries such as Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru and Argentina.


Google assisted in the processing of the data.


Mauricio Alvarez, president of the Environmental Federation (FECON) said there was a “serious process of deforestation in the late 2000’s,” and expressed his concern about the increase of pineapple plantations in the north of the country as well as the country’s Caribbean region, and the expansion of hotel projects along the country’s coasts.

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  • Ken Morris

    My only objection to this article is the use of the term “worse” to mean “more extensive” when describing the recent rate of deforestation in Nicaragua.

    Preserving rainforests, like any other environmentalist objective, often involves making tradeoffs between it and economic development. I bristle when environmentalists object to poor countries doing the same thing that rich countries did and do, as if the poor are supposed to remain poor to offset the environmental destruction caused by the rich.

    The comparison with Costa Rica is also a bit disingenuous, IMO, since preserving rainforests is money in the bank for Costa Rica’s tourism industry. I doubt whether Costa Rica would do such a good job if it weren’t profitable. The country certainly doesn’t give much evidence of being concerned about the environment in other ways.

    So let’s just say that deforestation in Nicaragua has recently been “more extensive” than it has been in Costa Rica, and save the adjective “worse” for a fuller analysis of exactly what has been going on in Nicaragua and why.

  • Aitor Xaranga

    Interestingly, there is deforestation in the outlying national parks or reserves, principally in the Barra del Colorado area. Will this be blamed on the narco-traffickers?

  • expatin paradise

    This is interesting work that was created in remarkably little time because the data were already stored. I just wish that I could read the map. I don’t know why people who make these things don’t understand why people can’t make these graphics using different colors, given that a significant number of us (8% of males of northern European descent) have red-green color blindness. By the way, if you click to see the whole map, you will find that there is a complete legend telling what squares other than the red ones mean.

  • toolman78

    The map is completely inaccurate. I checked our farm and areas that are still covered in old forest have red on them and areas that used to be pasture and have been planted with orange trees within the last 10 years also have red all over them. I’ve been familiar with the general area around our farm for the last 12 years and find that the red markings that they say are supposed sights of recent deforestation seem to be false as often as they are correct. Similarly a teak farm in Guanacaste I’m familiar with that had it’s first cut done less than a year ago shows that it’s been deforested even though it used to be pasture for cattle and was planted 20+ years ago.

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