The study provides an example of mapping tropical forest cover from SPOT-Vegetation satellite images of coarse spatial resolution (1 km) for the subregion of insular Southeast Asia. A satellite image mosaic has been generated from satellite images acquired for the period 1998 to 2000. Forest cover has been mapped by unsupervised digital classification. The mapping result has then been compared to selected forest maps from the subregion, demonstrating the potential to provide basic information on forest area extent and distribution, but also on massive forest cover change in the subregional context. Forest area estimates derived from the map for the subregion have been found comparable to those compiled by FAO. The results indicate that many of the remaining tropical forests in Southeast Asia, rich in timber resources and biodiversity, may be lost in the near future if deforestation continues at present or previous rates.
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Vol. 32 • No. 7