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A satellite-based alert system could prove a potent weapon in the fight against deforestation. As few as eight hours after it detects that trees are being cut down, the system will send out e-mails warning that an area is endangered. That rapid response could enable environmental managers to catch illegal loggers before they damage large swathes of forest.
[T]he Landsat-based alerts represent a significant step forward for the fight against deforestation, says Frances Seymour, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, a think tank in Washington DC. “In the context of law enforcement, timeliness is everything,” she says. “A couple weeks later, not only is the forest gone, but so is the equipment and all the evidence you might be able to use for a successful prosecution.”