Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study slashes deforestation carbon emission estimate

Date:
June 25, 2012
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
A new study with NASA participation has sharply reduced previous estimates of how much carbon was emitted into Earth's atmosphere from tropical deforestation in the early 2000s.

Distribution of annual carbon emissions from gross forest cover loss between 2000 and 2005 mapped at a spatial resolution of 11.5 miles (18.5 kilometers).
Credit: Winrock International

A new study with NASA participation has sharply reduced previous estimates of how much carbon was emitted into Earth's atmosphere from tropical deforestation in the early 2000s.

Related Articles


Research scientist Sassan Saatchi of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., participated in the study, published June 21 in the journal Science. The team, led by researchers from Winrock International, an environmental nonprofit organization in Little Rock, Ark., also included scientists from Applied GeoSolutions, Durham, N.H.; and the University of Maryland, College Park. They combined satellite data on gross forest loss and forest carbon stocks to track emissions from deforestation in the world's tropical forests. The resulting gross emissions estimate of 0.81 billion metric tons of carbon emitted per year is approximately one third of previously published estimates, and represents just 10 percent of the total global human-produced carbon emissions over the time period analyzed (2000 to 2005).

Two countries -- Brazil and Indonesia -- produced the highest emissions during the study period, accounting for 55 percent of total emissions from tropical deforestation. Nearly 40 percent of all forest loss in the study region was concentrated in the dry tropics, but accounted for only 17 percent of total carbon emissions, reflecting their relatively low carbon stocks in comparison to those found in tropical moist forests.

The Winrock study is the first study of global carbon emissions from tropical deforestation to use satellite data, rather than tabular bookkeeping models, to account for carbon. This approach allows for a much more refined analysis and yields results that will serve as a better benchmark for monitoring global progress on reducing emissions in the future. Individual emissions numbers were calculated for each country, along with a statistical uncertainty range.

"These detailed emissions estimates would not have been possible without the NASA satellites that helped us quantify forest cover change and forest carbon stocks, which are the two critical data sources for this work," said Saatchi. Data from NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA's Terra satellite; NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat); NASA's Quick Scatterometer (QuikScat) satellite; and the joint NASA/U.S. Geological Survey Landsat program were used to produce the estimate.

The team hopes the policy mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that proposes to compensate developing countries for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) will benefit from a more accurate benchmark of emissions from deforestation.

"The relative contribution of deforestation to total greenhouse gas emissions will likely continue to decline through time as emissions from other sectors rise, but the loss of millions of hectares of forest per year remains considerable," said Alexander Lotsch of the World Bank, which funded the study. "Effectively reducing forest-related emissions through international efforts that also promote biodiversity conservation, forest livelihoods and help maintain essential forest functions such as water regulation, is an essential measure to avoid serious climate change impacts and to ensure low carbon sustainable development in the developing world."

The team plans to update their work for the period from 2006 to 2010 to assess whether carbon emissions increased or decreased in the second half of the 2000s.

For more information on the study, read the full news release from Winrock International. For more on Winrock International, visit: http://www.winrock.org.

For more information on Sassan Saatchi's terrestrial carbon cycle research, visit: http://carbon.jpl.nasa.gov/.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. N. L. Harris, S. Brown, S. C. Hagen, S. S. Saatchi, S. Petrova, W. Salas, M. C. Hansen, P. V. Potapov, A. Lotsch. Baseline Map of Carbon Emissions from Deforestation in Tropical Regions. Science, 2012; 336 (6088): 1573 DOI: 10.1126/science.1217962

Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Study slashes deforestation carbon emission estimate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120625113008.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2012, June 25). Study slashes deforestation carbon emission estimate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120625113008.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Study slashes deforestation carbon emission estimate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120625113008.htm (accessed March 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Clean-Up Follows Deadly Weather in Okla.

Clean-Up Follows Deadly Weather in Okla.

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency for 25 Oklahoma counties after powerful storms rumbled across the state causing one death, numerous injuries and widespread damage. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least Four Dead After Floods in Northern Chile

At Least Four Dead After Floods in Northern Chile

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) At least four people have been killed by severe flooding in northern Chile after rains battered the Andes mountains and swept into communities below. Rob Muir reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Oklahomans "devastated" By Tornado Damage

Oklahomans "devastated" By Tornado Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 26, 2015) Buildings and homes lay in ruins and a semi-truck gets flipped following a fierce tornado that left at least one person dead. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tornado Tears Through Oklahoma Town

Tornado Tears Through Oklahoma Town

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 26, 2015) Aerial video shows the moment a tornado ripped across the town of Moore, Oklahoma, sending sparks flying. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
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:

More Coverage


New Data and Methods Paint Clearer Picture of Emissions from Tropical Deforestation

June 21, 2012 Researchers have developed an estimate of gross carbon emissions from tropical deforestation for the early 2000s that is considerably lower than other recently published ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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