CEO Collect Earth Online

FAO uses CEO to reveal the impact of agricultural expansion on tropical rainforests

FAO uses CEO to reveal the impact of agricultural expansion on tropical rainforests

Collect Earth Online (CEO) is helping the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) uncover the causes of deforestation around the world.

The first findings from FAO’s Global Remote Sensing Survey have been released during the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). The study provides novel remote-sensing information about deforestation and deforestation drivers at global, regional, and biome levels. The survey was conducted by FAO in close collaboration with the countries and as part of the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020. The study found that the vast majority of deforestation occurring between 2000–2018 occurred in tropical biomes, with these areas under high pressure despite a global slowdown in deforestation.

The team also found that the impact of agricultural expansion on forests is even greater than previously thought, driving almost 90% of global deforestation.

This important research was powered by CEO and a global network of more than 800 national experts from 126 countries who analyzed 400,000 samples in CEO.

This is really an amazing example of CEO being used to empower citizen science at a global scale and to ultimately inform policymakers at the highest levels of government. Congratulations to the FAO and CEO teams for their diligence and hard work over the past several years,
says Dr. Gary Johnson, Director of Software Development for Spatial Informatics Group.

Dr. Anssi Pekkarinen, Team Leader for the Global Forest Resources Assessment, noted that:

the combination of innovative and easy-to-use CEO technology and local expertise was key to successful completion of this global survey.

If you would like to learn more about FAO’s Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) and its Remote Sensing Survey, please visit

Additionally, FAO’s Adolfo Kindgard presented the results during COP26, a recording of which can be viewed below.

The full FRA remote sensing report will be released at the XV World Forestry Congress in South Korea in May 2022.