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Seeing trees from space: above-ground biomass estimates of intact and degraded montane rainforests from high-resolution optical imagery

Mui-How Phua (1)   , Zia-Yiing Ling (1), David Anthony Coomes (2), Wilson Wong (1), Alexius Korom (1), Satoshi Tsuyuki (3), Keiko Ioki (1), Yasumasa Hirata (4), Hideki Saito (4), Gen Takao (4)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 10, Issue 3, Pages 625-634 (2017)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor2204-010
Published: Jun 01, 2017 - Copyright © 2017 SISEF

Research Articles


Accurately quantifying the above-ground carbon stock of tropical rainforest trees is the core component of “Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation-plus” (REDD+) projects and is important for evaluating the effects of anthropogenic global change. We used high-resolution optical imagery (IKONOS-2) to identify individual tree crowns in intact and degraded rainforests in the mountains of Northern Borneo, comparing our results with 50 ground-based plots dispersed in intact and degraded forests, within which all stems > 10 cm in diameter were measured and identified to species or genus. We used the dimensions of tree crowns detected in the imagery to estimate above-ground biomasses (AGBs) of individual trees and plots. To this purpose, preprocessed IKONOS imagery was segmented using a watershed algorithm; stem diameter values were then estimated from the cross-sectional crown areas of these trees using regression relationships obtained from ground-based measurements. Finally, we calculated the biomass of each tree (AGBT, in kg), and the AGB of plots by summation (AGBP, in Mg ha-1). Remotely sensed estimates of mean AGBT were similar to ground-based estimates in intact and degraded forests, even though small trees could not be detected from space-borne sensors. The intact and degraded forests not only had different AGB but were also dissimilar in biodiversity. A tree-centric approach to carbon mapping based on high-resolution optical imagery, could be a cheap alternative to airborne laser-scanning.

  Keywords


Biomass Estimation, Crown Area, IKONOS-2, Tree Community Similarity, Sabah

Authors’ address

(1)
Mui-How Phua
Zia-Yiing Ling
Wilson Wong
Alexius Korom
Keiko Ioki
Faculty of Science and Natural Resources, University of Malaysia Sabah, Jalan UMS, 88400 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah (Malaysia)
(2)
David Anthony Coomes
Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 3EA (UK)
(3)
Satoshi Tsuyuki
Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 1-1-1 Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8567 (Japan)
(4)
Yasumasa Hirata
Hideki Saito
Gen Takao
Forest and Forest Products Research Institute, Matsunosato 1, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8687 (Japan)

Corresponding author

 
Mui-How Phua
pmh@ums.edu.my

Citation

Phua M-H, Ling Z-Y, Coomes DA, Wong W, Korom A, Tsuyuki S, Ioki K, Hirata Y, Saito H, Takao G (2017). Seeing trees from space: above-ground biomass estimates of intact and degraded montane rainforests from high-resolution optical imagery. iForest 10: 625-634. - doi: 10.3832/ifor2204-010

Academic Editor

Davide Travaglini

Paper history

Received: Aug 22, 2016
Accepted: May 04, 2017

First online: Jun 01, 2017
Publication Date: Jun 30, 2017
Publication Time: 0.93 months

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