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Resource Language:


Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - West, South and Central America, Africa

Our Forests | Timelapse in Google Earth

Author: Google Earth
Grades: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Subjects: Science, Social Studies, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Geography
Format: YouTube Video
Resource Type:
  • Video, 3 minutes, 18 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • This video takes students on a virtual trip to 5 different locations around the world, depicting the changes happening to our world’s forests over time from satellite images. 
  • Students will see the extent of deforestation in those locations from 1984-2020.
Teaching Tips


  • The music and sound effects make the content more engaging.
  • It contains short facts and information about deforestation that make it powerful and informative.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should understand that satellite images are real pictures taken of the Earth from space.


  • Teachers could play this video before a discussion about deforestation, economic growth, population growth, per capita consumption growth, or biodiversity loss.
  • 3rd-5th graders could observe the reduction in green cover from 1984-2020, while middle and high school math students could estimate the surface area of forest lost in the images.
  • The short facts that pop up could be used for social studies, biology, or ethics classes when discussing sustainability, the rights of other species to exist, how much we rely on natural ecosystems to survive, or how to design economies to support a sustainable future.
  • Click here for a similar resource from Google Earth on Changing Forests.
  • Click here for an StC lesson plan for 6-8th graders on the density of trees in urban areas.
Scientist Notes
This resource spotlights the rate of deforestation and other land use changes from a variable time span (1984-2020) in selected countries. There is no contradiction in facts as presented in the resource. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.2.6-8 Use maps, satellite images, photographs, and other representations to explain relationships between the locations of places and regions, and changes in their environmental characteristics.
      • D2.Geo.5.3-5 Explain how the cultural and environmental characteristics of places change over time.
      • D2.Geo.6.9-12 Evaluate the impact of human settlement activities on the environmental and cultural characteristics of specific places and regions.
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