Aislinn Dewey

Uncovering Deforestation

Through data visualization the reality of deforestation over time and its effect on carbon emissions will inform and inspire action through participation in a reforestation campaign as well as encouraging the viewer to reduce unnecessary consumption of forest products.

Expressing Information

Extracting data sets for global, regional and country-level deforestation and visualizing them in a clear and comprehensive format, my piece reveals trends in information that are often hidden in inaccessible databases. Insprired by aerial photographs of deforestation which show large agricultural areas that have been increasingly destroyed as they stop producing crops, therefore creating an almost abstract geometric pattern of dark and light land plots, I decided to convey the country data using colored acre-like squares of varying colors. Designed in flash, I allow the user to filter the data by navigating different views of the countries data, whether taking into account country size, geography or loss of acreage, patterns are uncovered and an awareness of the severity of the issue for certain countries is attained. Using both a large-scale print of global deforestation as well as the interactive flash piece to further explore the issue, the user will gain a clear understanding of the reality of this issue. By choosing a piece of the problem and looking at some approaches to positively impact this problem I integrated an ability for an individual to act on the issue.

Using the World Resources Institute and the UN report documenting the State of the World's Forests from 2007, along with other research, I discovered the many contributing causes and effects of deforestation. From colonization to poverty and the need to sell cash crops, this complex issue is somewhat hidden from the average American.

Individuals that may not be aware of the reality of deforestation that has occured in the past 10 years to countries, regions and the world. To individuals that may not know ways they can act to better the situation.

User Scenario
The user can enter the site via its web address and can learn about its creation or begin exploring the data by navigating the links. Additionally, the user can look at a physical print out the primary data set in order to more fully absorb the scale of the deforestation.

Its made in flash, from illustrator designs. It is interactive and needs a large display or monitor to get a full experience. The poster can be positioned to the left or right.

I learned that collaborating with a programmer to be able to extract data as it is available would be a great addition to the future of this project. I learned the reality of the issue as I was plotting each individual country and its loss of acreage over time.