Aerial view of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. Existing maps use satellite images to cover large areas, but don’t always see how much biomass exists. Neil Palmer CIAT for CIFOR
Mapping the world’s biomass to better tackle deforestation
By combining satellite with on-the-ground data, new map offers more accurate biomass information.
One of the early successes in efforts to combat global warming has been a renewed push to tackle deforestation in some of the world’s last remaining tropical rainforests.
But, the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) program – a UN effort to improve forest management in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – has suffered from a lack of dependable data to assist policy makers in quantifying how much biomass is present in the forests of Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America.
There are several data sets available for countries looking to quantify their biomass and, in doing so, establish a baseline that would allow them to demonstrate they are making progress in reducing deforestation. However, because these maps depend heavily on satellite data, they have often been criticized as inadequate.
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