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Where’s the Biomass? A New Approach for Quantifying Biomass and Carbon in the Western United States

Posted date: October 13, 2020
Publication Year: 
Authors: Hudak, Andrew T.; Bright, Benjamin C.; Delgado Arias, Sabrina - NASA - Goddard Space Flight Center; Fekety, Patrick - Colorado State University; Hinkley, Everett - Forest Service - Geospatial Management Office; Sepulveda, Edil - NASA - Goddard Space Flight Center
Document type: Other Documents


The 2012 USDA Forest Service Planning rule requires that National Forests incorporate mitigation and adaptation strategies in response to climate change into their forest management plans. An underlying foundation of this work is knowing the distribution of aboveground biomass across the landscape. With a grant from NASA's Carbon Monitoring System (CMS) Program, Andrew Hudak, a research forester with the Rocky Mountain Research Station, led a team to develop aboveground biomass maps for Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and western Montana. These annual maps, which span the years 2000–2016, will be useful for developing carbon budgets for National Forests and identifying areas needing fuel treatments to reduce wildfire risk. Building upon the success of the project, NASA provided additional funding for Hudak and his team to create maps of other forest attributes, such as basal area, volume, or canopy fuels. The goal is to map biomass and other forest attributes of interest to forest managers annually for the whole western United States, from 1984 through 2020.

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