A Sample-Based Forest Monitoring Strategy Using Landsat, AVHRR and MODIS Data to Estimate Gross Forest Cover Loss in Malaysia between 1990 and 2005
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Insular Southeast Asia is a hotspot of humid tropical forest cover loss. A sample-based monitoring approach quantifying forest cover loss from Landsat imagery was implemented to estimate gross forest cover loss for two eras, 1990–2000 and 2000–2005. For each time interval, a probability sample of 18.5 km × 18.5 km blocks was selected, and pairs of Landsat images acquired per sample block were interpreted to quantify forest cover area and gross forest cover loss. Stratified random sampling was implemented for 2000–2005 with MODIS-derived forest cover loss used to define the strata. A probability proportional to x (πpx) design was implemented for 1990–2000 with AVHRR-derived forest cover loss used as the x variable to increase the likelihood of including forest loss area in the sample. The estimated annual gross forest cover loss for Malaysia was 0.43 Mha/yr (SE = 0.04) during 1990–2000 and 0.64 Mha/yr (SE = 0.055) during 2000–2005. Our use of the πpx sampling design represents a first practical trial of this design for sampling satellite imagery. Although the design performed adequately in this study, a thorough comparative investigation of the πpx design relative to other sampling strategies is needed before general design recommendations can be put forth.