Canadian Forest Service Publications

Regional aboveground forest biomass using airborne and spaceborne LiDAR in Québec. 2009. Boudreau, J.; Nelson, R.F.; Margolis, H.A.; Beaudoin, A.; Guindon, L.; Kimes, D.S. Remote Sensing of Environment 112(2008): 3876-3890.

Year: 2008

Available from: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 29547

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)


Aboveground dry biomass was estimated for the 1.3 M km2 forested area south of the treeline in the eastern Canadian province of Québec by combining data from an airborne and spaceborne LiDAR, a Landsat ETM+ land cover map, a Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission (SRTM) digital elevation model, ground inventory plots, and vegetation zone maps. Plot-level biomass was calculated using allometric relationships between tree attributes and biomass. A small footprint portable laser profiler then flew over these inventory plots to develop a generic airborne LiDAR-based biomass equation (R2=0.65, n=207). The same airborne LiDAR system flew along four portions of orbits of the ICESat Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS). A squareroot transformed equation was developed to predict airborne profiling LiDAR estimates of aboveground dry biomass from GLAS waveform parameters combined with an SRTM slope index (R2=0.59, n=1325). Using the 104,044 quality-filtered GLAS pulses obtained during autumn 2003 from 97 orbits over the study area, we then predicted aboveground dry biomass for the main vegetation areas of Québec as well as for the entire Province south of the treeline. Including cover type covariances both within and between GLAS orbits increased standard errors of the estimates by two to five times at the vegetation zone level and as much as threefold at the provincial level. Aboveground biomass for the whole study area averaged 39.0±2.2 (standard error) Mg ha-1 and totalled 4.9±0.3 Pg. Biomass distributions were 12.6% northern hardwoods, 12.6% northern mixedwood, 38.4% commercial boreal, 13% non-commercial boreal, 14.2% taiga, and 9.2% treed tundra. Non-commercial forests represented 36% of the estimated aboveground biomass, thus highlighting the importance of remote northern forests to C sequestration. This study has shown that space-based forest inventories of northern forests could be an efficient way of estimating the amount, distribution, and uncertainty of aboveground biomass and carbon stocks at large spatial scales.

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