GIS Helps Measure Carbon Footprints in U.S. Forests

logo_NBCD…from V1 Magazine

“How do we retrace our ecological footprints? Where will the footprints lead? Scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) are tracking carbon footprints across the globe starting with U.S. forests. One ongoing study, using geographic information system (GIS) technology, is measuring the carbon-rich biomass in heavily wooded areas to indicate the effect that deforestation and land use have on rising carbon levels in our atmosphere.

“The National Biomass and Carbon Dataset for the year 2000 (NBCD2000) will serve as a baseline for quantifying carbon stock in U.S. forests. The information can then be used to improve current methods of assessing carbon flux between forests and the atmosphere. To establish the baseline, researchers fed many layers of data into the GIS including NASA satellite imagery, topographic survey data, land use/land cover information, and extensive forest inventory data collected by the USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program.”