Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Use Lasers To Measure Changes To Tropical Forests

Date:
January 27, 2009
Source:
US Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station
Summary:
New technology deployed on airplanes is helping scientists quantify landscape-scale changes occurring to Big Island tropical forests from non-native plants and other environmental factors that affect carbon sequestration.

This CAO map shows carbon storage throughout the Laupahoehoe rainforest, a core site of the National Ecological Observatory Network, located along the eastern flank of Mauna Kea Volcano.
Credit: Image courtesy of Carnegie Airborne Observatory

New technology deployed on airplanes is helping scientists quantify landscape-scale changes occurring to Big Island tropical forests from non-native plants and other environmental factors that affect carbon sequestration.

U.S. Forest Service and Carnegie Institution scientists involved in the research published their findings this month in the journal Ecosystems and hope it will help other researchers racing to assess threats to tropical forests around the world.

"Our results clearly show the interactive role that climate and invasive species play on carbon stocks in tropical forests, and this may prove useful in projecting future changes in carbon sequestration in Hawaii and beyond," said Gregory Asner, with the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology.

Airborne technology might be the best way to quickly examine rugged ecosystems covered with dense vegetation that make them difficult to study on the ground or with satellites, according to the scientists.

"These findings showed airborne data correlated with data derived from study plots on the ground," said Flint Hughes, a Forest Service ecologist at the agency's Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry and one of the study's authors. "They also demonstrated what might be the most important environmental factors affecting forest biomass and carbon sequestration."

Hughes and his colleagues compared field measurements with data derived from the Carnegie Airborne Observatory (http://cao.stanford.edu/), a system that uses a combination of lasers capable of measuring elevation to within six inches, GPS and advanced imaging spectrometers that can identify plant species from aircraft.

The scientists placed the equipment on an airplane that flew over the northeast flank of the Mauna Kea Volcano and the Hawaii Experimental Tropical Forest, which the National Science Foundation has designated a National Ecological Observatory Network candidate site.

They then compared the information to field observations that included tree diameter, canopy height and wood density estimates. Their findings not only demonstrated the effectiveness of airborne observations, but also offered a landscape-scale view of how alien invasive plants like strawberry guava might affect biomass levels in the context of carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation.

Study results suggest fast-growing invaders decrease biomass levels, while slower-growing species increase biomass stocks.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by US Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gregory P. Asner, R. Flint Hughes, Timothy A. Varga, David E. Knapp and Ty Kennedy-Bowdoin. Environmental and Biotic Controls over Aboveground Biomass Throughout a Tropical Rain Forest. Ecosystems, 2008; DOI: 10.1007/s10021-008-9221-5

Cite This Page:

US Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. "Scientists Use Lasers To Measure Changes To Tropical Forests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090123152547.htm>.
US Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. (2009, January 27). Scientists Use Lasers To Measure Changes To Tropical Forests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090123152547.htm
US Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. "Scientists Use Lasers To Measure Changes To Tropical Forests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090123152547.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins