time-lapse-deforestation-map

We’re spoiled: Most time-lapse videos give an awe-inspiring look at the aurora borealis, or a tour of Iceland, or a nighttime view of America’s great spaces. Not this one, which fits more in the category of “eye-opening yet depresses the hell out of you.” Ringing endorsement, right? Who’s ready to see Earth’s forests disappear?!

The time-lapse maps are from new research published in Science last week, illustrating forest growth and demise from 2000 to 2012. According to the New Republic, 888,000 square miles of trees vanished over those 12 years.

“You see, obviously, your big deforestation clearings, your big forestry land uses, you see the big fires,” says the video’s oddly chipper narrator, lead researcher Matthew Hansen. “It’s REALLY cool.” Cool isn’t exactly a word we’d use to describe deforestation, but yeah, the video’s use of 650,000 NASA satellite images is pretty illuminating. Now excuse us as we sob into an upcycled vintage hanky and then make like Johnny Appleseed.