We are developing a pilot Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) accounting system that could be used by developing countries within the context of the United Nations (UN) REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) Programme. Because one system will not fit all needs, we consider different biomass estimation frameworks and different components for inclusion in the system. Design-based inference is commonly applied to a sample field plot network. But field plot networks are expensive to install and maintain. Sampling with lidar strips, supported by a smaller set of plots may be an attractive alternative that is highly relevant to many REDD countries, as is the use of Landsat for disturbance monitoring. Biomass estimation uncertainties associated with use of these different datasets in a design-based inference framework are being examined. We are also developing and testing estimators that rely primarily on Landsat data within a model-based inference framework. The contributions from Landsat are the current (e.g., 2013) spectral response and metrics that describe disturbance history derived from a time series leading up to the current date. In this context, either plot data or lidar data can be used to parameterize the model and we are contrasting the uncertainty effects of these datasets.
Three objectives are being addressed that test various components of the MRV system at six study sites (map of sites) in the US: