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Seeing the trees for the forest: WHRC scientists creating national biomass and carbon dataset

After completing a two-year pilot phase, scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center are expanding the scope of the "National Biomass and Carbon Dataset" for the year 2000 (NBCD2000), the first ever inventory of its kind, by moving into the production phase. Through a combination of NASA satellite datasets, topographic survey data, land use/land cover data, and extensive forest inventory data collected by the U.S. Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis Program (FIA), NBCD2000 will be an invaluable baseline data set for the assessment of the carbon stock in U.S. forest vegetation and will improve current methods of determining carbon flux between vegetation and the atmosphere. Work on the remaining 61 mapping zones will be completed at a rate of roughly one zone every seven working days.

According to Josef Kellndorfer, an associate scientist at the Center who is leading the project, "Understanding this flux is critical for the quantification and prediction of atmospheric CO2 concentrations, a major determinant of the greenhouse warming effect in the climate system. Thus, this initiative will directly support the North American Carbon Program, which is a major component of the U.S. Climate Change Research Program."

In the NBCD2000 initiative, begun in 2005, data is being analyzed in 66 ecologically diverse regions, termed "mapping zones", which span the conterminous United States. Within each mapping zone data from the 2000 Shuttle Radar Topography Mission are combined with topographic survey data from the National Elevation Dataset (NED) to produce a radar-based height map of vegetation. Subsequently, this map is converted to estimates of actual vegetation height, biomass, and carbon stock using survey data from the U.S. Forest Service FIA program and ancillary data sets from the National Land Cover Database 2001 (NLCD2001) project. The NLCD2001 data layers are crucial inputs to the NBCD2000 project as they provide land cover and cano
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Contact: Elizabeth Braun
ebraun@whrc.org
508-540-9900
Woods Hole Research Center
30-Apr-2007


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