Research Papers

Biomass accumulation rates of Amazonian secondary forest and biomass of old-growth forests from Landsat time series and the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System

[+] Author Affiliations
Eileen H. Helmer

International Institute of Tropical Forestry, USDA Forest Service, Jardi´n Bota´nico Sur, Ri´o Piedras, Puerto Rico 00926-1119 Puerto Rico

Michael A. Lefsky

Center for Ecological Analysis of Lidar, Colorado State University, College of Natural Resources, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1472

Dar A. Roberts

Department of Geography, University of California - Santa Barbara, 1832 Ellison Hall, Santa Barbara, CA 93106

J. Appl. Remote Sens. 3(1), 033505 (January 27, 2009). doi:10.1117/1.3082116
History: Received May 21, 2008; Revised January 14, 2009; Accepted January 21, 2009; January 27, 2009; Online January 27, 2009
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Abstract

We estimate the age of humid lowland tropical forests in Rondoˆnia, Brazil, from a somewhat densely spaced time series of Landsat images (1975-2003) with an automated procedure, the Threshold Age Mapping Algorithm (TAMA), first described here. We then estimate a landscape-level rate of aboveground woody biomass accumulation of secondary forest by combining forest age mapping with biomass estimates from the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS). Though highly variable, the estimated average biomass accumulation rate of 8.4 Mg ha-1> yr-1> agrees well with ground-based studies for young secondary forests in the region. In isolating the lowland forests, we map land cover and general types of old-growth forests with decision tree classification of Landsat imagery and elevation data. We then estimate aboveground live biomass for seven classes of old-growth forest. TAMA is simple, fast, and self-calibrating. By not using between-date band or index differences or trends, it requires neither image normalization nor atmospheric correction. In addition, it uses an approach to map forest cover for the self-calibrations that is novel to forest mapping with satellite imagery; it maps humid secondary forest that is difficult to distinguish from old-growth forest in single-date imagery; it does not assume that forest age equals time since disturbance; and it incorporates Landsat Multispectral Scanner imagery. Variations on the work that we present here can be applied to other forested landscapes. Applications that use image time series will be helped by the free distribution of coregistered Landsat imagery, which began in December 2008, and of the Ice Cloud and land Elevation Satellite Vegetation Product, which simplifies the use of GLAS data. Finally, we demonstrate here for the first time how the optical imagery of fine spatial resolution that is viewable on Google Earth provides a new source of reference data for remote sensing applications related to land cover.

© 2009 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers

Citation

Eileen H. Helmer ; Michael A. Lefsky and Dar A. Roberts
"Biomass accumulation rates of Amazonian secondary forest and biomass of old-growth forests from Landsat time series and the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System", J. Appl. Remote Sens. 3(1), 033505 (January 27, 2009). ; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.3082116


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