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Deforestation and Land Cover Learning Module

Vegetation Continuous Fields Datasource for Calculating Deforestation

Information about vegetation coverage of the earth's surface - particularly changes in coverage - enables the study of questions in fields ranging from the natural to the social sciences. This Geo4Dev tutorial provides an approachable introduction to and demonstration of the use of the MODIS Vegetation Continuous Fields (VCF) product.

VCF is a representation of global surface coverage from 2000 to 2020, comprising data on tree cover, non-vegetative cover, and cloud cover. Given its global span and two-decade time frame, VCF has proven a valuable tool for researchers across disciplines. This tutorial aims to make VCF accessible to a wider audience by providing all the tools required to use the data. Users are first introduced to remote sensing technology and the VCF dataset before being provided with a demonstration of the code required to download the VCF data, select particular geographic areas and types of land cover, visualize the coverage, and produce numerical statistics on coverage levels for use in any additional analyses. Finally, a demonstration is provided that replicates the use of VCF in "The Ecological Impact of Transportation Infrastructure" (2020) by Sam Asher, Teevrat Garg, and Paul Novosad. This paper uses VCF tree cover data to determine whether road and highway construction impacted deforestation in India.

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Additional Info

Field Value
Author(s) Shanchao Wang, Natalie Ayers
Last Updated August 10, 2021, 16:13 (UTC)
Created August 2, 2021, 21:37 (UTC)
Stable Link
Date 2021-08-02
Content Type Training Materials
Primary Category Land Use & Land Cover
Sub Category LULC
Country Name Global, India
Associated Datasets Vegetation Continuous Fields (
Publishing Organization Center for Effective Global Action