New approach to measuring carbon in forests

Mar 26, 2008

CSIRO is collaborating in a NASA-funded project, using a CSIRO-designed instrument, to help develop new methods of measuring forest carbon stores on a large scale.

Forests are the world’s main above-ground carbon store and are therefore critical in controlling the global carbon cycle. But estimating the amount of carbon stored in forests over a large scale is difficult. An American project is using the CSIRO-designed ECHIDNA instrument, together with airborne sensors, to provide a practical technique for broad-scale structural mapping of forests.

CSIRO carbon accounting expert, Dr Phil Polglase, says the project is important to international research efforts to provide improved estimates of carbon stored in forests.

“Australia, along with other countries, reports on its greenhouse gas emissions from the land-use sector and this research offers a new method to improve our carbon estimates across large scales,” Dr Polglase says.

The ECHIDNA is a patented ground-based light detection and ranging (LiDAR) instrument which CSIRO began developing in 2001. CSIRO later worked closely with Forest and Wood Products Australia during development and validation. The ECHIDNA has been used extensively to assess the three-dimensional structure of tree trunks, branches and leaves. These forest structural variables can be used to help estimate forest biomass.

The NASA project is extending this work by integrating the ECHIDNA with other LiDAR technologies, says CSIRO Remote Sensing scientist, Dr Glenn Newnham.

“We’re meeting the challenge of providing reliable biomass estimates over large areas by combining the detail from the ECHIDNA® on the ground with the broad-scale airborne LiDAR data,” Dr Newnham says.

“We’re expecting that this method will lead to more accurate and efficient mapping and monitoring of forest biomass and, as a result, a better understanding of the influence of forest carbon stores on the global carbon cycle.”

Source: CSIRO Australia

Explore further: Antarctic ice sheet is result of CO2 decrease, not continental breakup

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Microsoft unveils Xbox in China as it faces probe

5 hours ago

Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled its Xbox game console in China, the first to enter the market after an official ban 14 years ago, even as it faces a Chinese government probe over business practices.

Recommended for you

NASA sees zombie Tropical Depression Genevieve reborn

13 hours ago

Infrared imagery from NASA's Aqua satellite helped confirm that the remnant low pressure area of former Tropical Storm Genevieve has become a Zombie storm, and has been reborn as a tropical depression on ...

Wave energy impact on harbour operations investigated

17 hours ago

Infragravity period oscillations—waves that occur between 25 and 300 seconds with a wavelength between 100m and 10km—can have an impact on berthing operations, depending on a harbour's geometry.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

NotParker
1 / 5 (4) Mar 27, 2008
They plan to burn trees and measure carbon output.

... just kidding.