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Individual Highlight

A Synthesis of How Multispectral Satellite Imagery Can Support Inventories of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Tropical Forest Clearing and Regrowth

Photo of Tropical forest clearing and rates of forest regrowth can be monitored with multispectral satellite imagery for forest carbon accounting for programs such as the United Nations REDD+ program.  U.S. Geological Survey, the Brazilian Institute for Space Research, and NASA.Tropical forest clearing and rates of forest regrowth can be monitored with multispectral satellite imagery for forest carbon accounting for programs such as the United Nations REDD+ program. U.S. Geological Survey, the Brazilian Institute for Space Research, and NASA.Snapshot : Human clearing, logging, and burning of tropical forests accounts for at least 19 percent of annual human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, which is more than the global transportation sector. Multispectral satellite imagery is the timeliest and most accessible remotely sensed data for monitoring these forests. A Forest Service scientist and his colleagues reviewed how this imagery can be used for a United Nations program aimed at Reducing greenhouse gas Emissions to the atmosphere from Deforestation and Degradation in developing countries (known as REDD+).

Principal Investigators(s) :
Helmer, Eileen H. 
Research Station : International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF)
Year : 2015
Highlight ID : 781

Summary

Tropical forests have far more species diversity than temperate or boreal forests, and their role in Earth's atmospheric greenhouse gas budgets is large. Multispectral satellite imagery, (remotely sensed imagery with discrete bands ranging from visible to shortwave infrared wavelengths) is the timeliest and most widely available imagery for inventories of greenhouse gas sinks and sources related to tropical forests. Such inventories are conducted for a United Nations programthat will compensate developing countries for Reducing greenhouse gas Emissions to the atmosphere from Deforestation or Degradation (known as REDD+), and for sustainably managing forests and their carbon stocks.

A Forest Service scientist and his colleagues summarized how multispectral imagery can help characterize tropical forest attributes related to forest carbon emissions, including forest type, age, structure, and disturbance type or intensity, and the storage, degradation and accumulation of carbon in tree biomass. They also reviewed how this imagery can reveal feedbacks between tropical forest degradation and climate and how to cloud-screen and gap-fill imagery. They reviewed how the spectral information inherent to multiyear image time series has high sensitivity to the age, height or biomass of forests and how the spectral and textural information in multispectral imagery of high spatial resolution can be used to estimate tropical forest biomass.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Amazon Institute of People and the Environment (Imazon), Belém, Pará, Brazil
  • Carlos M. Souza Jr.
  • Gregory P. Asner,Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford, California, USA
  • Nicholas Goodwin, Remote Sensing Centre, Department of Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts (DSITIA),Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  • Prasad Thenkabail, US Geological Survey, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
  • Valéry Gond,Forest Ecosystems Goods and Services, Agricultural Research for Development, Montpellier Cedex, France