Combining remote sensing imagery and forest age inventory for biomass mapping.

Research paper by G G Zheng, J M JM Chen, Q J QJ Tian, W M WM Ju, X Q XQ Xia

Indexed on: 01 Dec '06Published on: 01 Dec '06Published in: Journal of Environmental Management


Aboveground biomass (AGB) of forests is an important component of the global carbon cycle. In this study, Landsat ETM(+) images and field forest inventory data were used to estimate AGB of forests in Liping County, Guizhou Province, China. Three different vegetation indices, including simple ratio (SR), reduced simple ratio (RSR), and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), were calculated from atmospherically corrected ETM(+) reflectance images. A leaf area index (LAI) map was produced from the RSR map using a regression model based on measured LAI and RSR. The LAI map was then used to develop an initial AGB map, from which forest stand age was deduced. Vegetation indices, LAI, and forest stand age were together used to develop AGB estimation models for different forest types through a stepwise regression analysis. Significant predictors of AGB changed with forest types. LAI and NDVI were significant predictors of AGB for Chinese fir (R(2)=0.93). The model using LAI and stand age as predictors explained 94% of the AGB variance for coniferous forests. Stand age captured 79% of the AGB variance for broadleaved forests (R(2)=0.792). AGB of mixed forests was predicted well by LAI and SR (R(2)=0.931). Without differentiating among forest types, the model with SR and LAI as predictors was able to explain 90% of AGB variances of all forests. In Liping County, AGB shows a strong gradient that increases from northeast to southwest. About 64% of the forests have AGB in the range from 90 to 180 t ha(-1).