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[en] A full energy-cycle analysis of greenhouse gas emissions of biomass energy systems requires analysis well beyond the energy sector. For example, production of biomass fuels impacts on the global carbon cycle by altering the amount of carbon stored in the biosphere and often by producing a stream of by-products or co-products which substitute for other energy-intensive products like cement, steel, concrete or, in case of ethanol from corn, animal feed. It is necessary to distinguish between greenhouse gas emissions associated with the energy product as opposed to those associated with other products. Production of biomass fuels also has an opportunity cost because it uses large land areas which could have been used otherwise. Accounting for the greenhouse gas emissions from biomass fuels in an environment of credits and debits creates additional challenges because there are large nonlinearities in the carbon flows over time. This paper presents some of the technical challenges of comprehensive greenhouse gas accounting and distinguishes between technical and public policy issues
[en] Observations from the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) were used in combination with a large data set of field measurements to map woody above-ground biomass (AGB) across tropical Africa. We generated a best-quality cloud-free mosaic of MODIS satellite reflectance observations for the period 2000-2003 and used a regression tree model to predict AGB at 1 km resolution. Results based on a cross-validation approach show that the model explained 82% of the variance in AGB, with a root mean square error of 50.5 Mg ha-1 for a range of biomass between 0 and 454 Mg ha-1. Analysis of lidar metrics from the Geoscience Laser Altimetry System (GLAS), which are sensitive to vegetation structure, indicate that the model successfully captured the regional distribution of AGB. The results showed a strong positive correlation (R2 = 0.90) between the GLAS height metrics and predicted AGB.
[en] General conclusions regarding the implementation of biotic policy options in the US suggest that it is important for policymakers to differentiate between the theoretically possible and practically feasible global warming mitigation benefit associated with each biotic policy option. In the case of almost every option, the practical potential is considerably smaller than the theoretical potential. Biotic options within the US could in principle offset or displace almost all current fossil fuel CO2 emissions, the equivalent of more than 1.5 billion tons of carbon per year. In practice, however, storing or displacing just 150 to 400 million tons of carbon per year, or 9 to 25% of current US fossil fuel emissions, would require an aggressive and successful multipronged policy effort
[en] Polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (Pol-InSAR) is an active radar remote sensing technique based on the coherent combination of both polarimetric and interferometric observables. The Pol-InSAR technique provided a step forward in quantitative forest parameter estimation. In the last decade, airborne SAR experiments evaluated the potential of Pol-InSAR techniques to estimate forest parameters (e.g., the forest height and biomass) with high accuracy over various local forest test sites. This dissertation addresses the actual status, potentials and limitations of Pol-InSAR inversion techniques for 3-D forest parameter estimations on a global scale using lower frequencies such as L- and P-band. The multi-baseline Pol-InSAR inversion technique is applied to optimize the performance with respect to the actual level of the vertical wave number and to mitigate the impact of temporal decorrelation on the Pol-InSAR forest parameter inversion. Temporal decorrelation is a critical issue for successful Pol-InSAR inversion in the case of repeat-pass Pol-InSAR data, as provided by conventional satellites or airborne SAR systems. Despite the limiting impact of temporal decorrelation in Pol-InSAR inversion, it remains a poorly understood factor in forest height inversion. Therefore, the main goal of this dissertation is to provide a quantitative estimation of the temporal decorrelation effects by using multi-baseline Pol-InSAR data. A new approach to quantify the different temporal decorrelation components is proposed and discussed. Temporal decorrelation coefficients are estimated for temporal baselines ranging from 10 minutes to 54 days and are converted to height inversion errors. In addition, the potential of Pol-InSAR forest parameter estimation techniques is addressed and projected onto future spaceborne system configurations and mission scenarios (Tandem-L and BIOMASS satellite missions at L- and P-band). The impact of the system parameters (e.g., bandwidth, NESZ, ambiguities) and the operation scenario (e.g., temporal decorrelation due to a repeat-pass orbit) is evaluated and discussed with respect to the retrieval of the forest parameters. The study is supported and validated by using repeat-pass Pol-InSAR data at L- and P-band acquired by DLR's E-SAR system over Remningstorp (BioSAR 2007, hemi-boreal forest), Krycklan (BioSAR 2008, boreal forest) and Traunstein (TempoSAR 2008 and 2009, temperate forest) test sites. The simulated spaceborne data sets generated during the BioSAR 2007 campaign are used to carry out the performance analysis.
[en] Biomass mapping using satellite imagery is a rapidly evolving field that has been greatly facilitated in recent years by the advent of LiDAR remote sensing coupled with co-located field measurements. The biomass map of Africa that we published in 2008 did not take direct advantage of coincident field and LiDAR measurements, as our more recent efforts have. The criticisms of our earlier map by Mitchard et al (2011 Environ. Res. Lett. 6 049001) are duly noted and worthwhile, although they are also limited in several respects that we describe. Most notably, they assess our map with field data sets that are only representative of a subset of conditions across the study domain, thus they not only inadequately characterize undisturbed tropical forest regions but also the diverse disturbance dynamics that are captured in satellite imagery. We point out the limitations of their assessment and focus on a way forward, moving beyond both inadequate field sampling and remote sensing to an approach the captures the full range of dynamics by directly coupling field and satellite measurements. (reply)
[en] The relationship between diversity and productivity of plant community under plant invasion has been not well known up to now. Here, we investigated the relationship between diversity and productivity under plant invasion and studied the response of species level plant mass to species richness in native and invaded communities. A field experiment from 2008 to 2013 and a pot experiment in 2014 were conducted to study the effects of plant invasion on the relationship between diversity and productivity and the response of species level plant mass to species richness in native and invaded communities. The community level biomass was negatively correlated to plant species richness in invaded communities while the same relationship was positive in native communities. The species level plant mass of individual species responded differently to overall plant species richness in the native and invaded communities, namely, most of the species’ plant mass increased in native communities, but decreased in invaded communities with increasing species richness. The complementarity or selection effects might dominate in native communities while competition effects might dominate in invaded communities. Accordingly, the negative relationship between diversity and productivity under plant invasion is highlighted in our experiments.
[en] This report compiles background information that can be used in planning appropriate countermeasures for forest and park areas in Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway, in case a nuclear accident results in large-scale contamination of forests. The information is formulated to inform the forestry sector and radiation protection experts about the practicality of both forest management techniques and mechanical cleanup methods, for use in their planning of specific strategies that can lead to an optimal use of contaminated forests. Decisions will depend on the site and the actual situation after radioactive deposition to forested areas, but the report provides background information from investigations performed before an accident occurs that will make the process more effective. The report also discusses the radiological consequences of producing energy from biomass contaminated by a major nuclear accident, both in the context of normal bio-fuel energy production and as a means of reducing potentially severe environmental problems in the forest by firing power plants with highly contaminated forest biomass. (au)
[en] Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and enhancing carbon stocks (REDD+) is a crucial component of global climate change mitigation. Remote sensing can provide continuous and spatially explicit above-ground biomass (AGB) estimates, which can be valuable for the quantification of carbon stocks and emission factors (EFs). Unfortunately, there is little information on the fate of the land following tropical deforestation and of the associated carbon stock. This study quantified post-deforestation land use across the tropics for the period 1990–2000. This dataset was then combined with a pan-tropical AGB map at 30 m resolution to refine EFs from forest conversion by matching deforestation areas with their carbon stock before and after clearing and to assess spatial dynamics of EFs by follow-up land use. In Latin America, pasture was the most common follow-up land use (72%), with large-scale cropland (11%) a distant second. In Africa deforestation was often followed by small-scale cropping (61%) with a smaller role for pasture (15%). In Asia, small-scale cropland was the dominant agricultural follow-up land use (35%), closely followed by tree crops (28%). Deforestation often occurred in forests with lower than average carbon stocks. EFs showed high spatial variation within eco-zones and countries. While our EFs are only representative for the studied time period, our results show that EFs are mainly determined by the initial forest carbon stock. The estimates of the fraction of carbon lost were less dependent on initial forest biomass, which offers opportunities for REDD+ countries to use these fractions in combination with recent good quality national forest biomass maps or inventory data to quantify emissions from specific forest conversions. Our study highlights that the co-location of data on forest loss, biomass and fate of the land provides more insight into the spatial dynamics of land-use change and can help in attributing carbon emissions to human activities. (letter)