Funded Research Projects: FOREST ECOLOGY

Integrated, observation-based carbon monitoring for wooded ecosystems in Washington, Oregon, and California

Research Sponsored By: Oregon State University
Principal Investigator: Jerry Franklin
Project Description
Project goal is to develop an integrated satellite, plot, and LiDAR-based system to characterize and monitor the effects of land management and natural processes on carbon fluxes in wooded ecosystems across large geographic areas. Key characteristics of the system will be explicit, map-based calculation of uncertainties in estimates of both carbon stocks and fluxes yearly from 1990 to present, and a modular structure that will allow rapid inclusion of new data for improving maps and reducing uncertainties as the system matures. Core components of the project are a time-series based approach to mine the Landsat Thematic Mapper archive to monitor an unprecedented range of change processes on the landscape and to develop temporally-stable data for mapping, a proven nearest-neighbor mapping approach to integrate satellite data, environmental data, and USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis data, and small-footprint LiDAR data used to assess map error. Carbon effects will be mapped for processes that include all levels of forest harvest and fire, including both mechanical thinning and low-intensity fire, as well insect-related mortality, post-disturbance regrowth and encroachment, and land-use change away from forest types. The resultant West Coast-wide maps of carbon will be useful for state agencies tasked with carbon monitoring roles, federal land management agencies needing context and guidance for land management decisions, and carbon modelers needing detailed maps of disturbance and growth effects on carbon change to train, calibrate, and validate the process-based models needed for futuring and decision support.