People have destroyed one third of all forests, one of Earth’s biggest carbon stores, releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and warming our planet. To avoid the worst impacts of climate breakdown, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that deforestation must stop immediately, and one billion hectares of forest restored by 2030.
Carbon stored in forests is being tracked from the international space station, 400km above us, helping countries work towards slowing deforestation and increasing forest cover. Just as a bat echolocates to see in the dark, a laser pulse is fired at the earth, bathing the forest in light for a split second, capturing an image of the forest’s structure. Two hundred years ago, Fritz Petzholdt expressed the beauty of the forest with careful brushstrokes. Today, we paint the canopy with lasers.