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Potential value of combining ALOS PALSAR and Landsat-derived tree cover data for forest biomass retrieval in Madagascar

Ho Tong Minh D., Ndikumana E., Vieilledent G., McKey D.B., Baghdadi N.. 2018. Remote Sensing of Environment, 213 : p. 206-214.

DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2018.04.056

Reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) requires detailed insight into how the forest biomass is measured and distributed. Studies so far have estimated forest biomass stocks using rough assumptions and unreliable data. High-resolution data and robust methods are required to capture the spatial variability of forest biomass with sufficient precision. Here we aim to improve on previous approaches by using radar satellite ALOS PALSAR (25-m resolution) and optical Landsat-derived tree cover (30-m resolution) observations to estimate forest biomass stocks in Madagascar, for the years 2007¿2010. The radar signal and in situ biomass were highly correlated (R2¿=¿0.71) and the root mean square error was 30% (for biomass ranging from 0 to 500¿t/ha). Using our map at 25-m resolution for the entire island of Madagascar, we estimated the total above-ground forest carbon for the four years 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 to be 1.1173 ± 0.0304, 1.1029 ± 0.0303, 1.0916 ± 0.0301 and 1.0773 ± 0.0298¿PgC, respectively. Carbon stocks were found to have decreased constantly over this period due to anthropogenic deforestation and likely also to climate change. The results are expected to serve as a more accurate benchmark for monitoring progress on REDD and to provide strong supports for current and future spaceborne missions such as ALOS-2, SAOCOM and BIOMASS.

Mots-clés : madagascar

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