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Research Highlights - Forest Carbon

International and voluntary programs to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) require high-resolution mapping of forest carbon stocks and emissions. With Carnegie's field, airborne and satellite program, including the Carnegie Airborne Observatory, we have mapped aboveground carbon stocks at high resolution in the countries of Peru, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Madagascar, South Africa and the United States.

The carbon maps reveal natural sources of variation in carbon stocks caused by variation in geology, soils, climate and vegetation type. The carbon emission maps indicate how much carbon is lost from forests via deforestation and forest degradation, and how much is gained in secondary forest regrowth. These maps allow decision-makers to plan carbon emission offset projects in a spatially explicit manner, which greatly increases accuracy and transparency of reporting.

The latest CAO carbon mapping results report absolute uncertainties of just 10% or less, as compared to exhaustively measured field inventory plots. The CAO approach to carbon mapping thus presents a potentially powerful replacement for field inventory networks, providing the same accuracy as field plots, but covering millions of hectares of forest which is impossible using field techniques alone.

Peruse the Publications pages for a series of papers on carbon mapping and monitoring with the CAO.

Forest carbon stocks in the southern Peruvian Amazon

Carbon storage across more than 40 distinct types of ecosystems on Hawaii Island

Carbon stocks in the remote Colombian Amazon

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