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Mapping the regional extent of tropical forest regeneration stages in the Brazilian Legal Amazon using NOAA AVHRR data

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The study aimed to map several stages of tropical forest regeneration across the Brazilian Legal Amazon using 1.1 km NOAA AVHRR data. Regenerating forest extent was defined using an unsupervised classification of AVHRR channels 1, 2 and 3 and the Global Environment Monitoring Index (GEMI). A method for discriminating four forest regeneration stages was then developed, based on relationships between AVHRR channels 1, 2 and 3 and forest age. This method was applied to AVHRR data to map forests associated with Stages I (early colonization phase, open canopy, < 5 years), II (closed, singlelayered canopy, 5-9 years), III (closed canopy with structural development, 9-20 years) and IV (closed multilayered canopy, > 20 years). The maps provided new regional estimates of regenerating forest for the Legal Amazon and indicated that, over the period 1991 to 1994, approximately 35.8% (157 973 km2) of the total deforested area of 440 186 km2 (estimated for 1992) supported regenerating forest, with 48% of these forests aged at less than 5 years. The study concluded that AVHRR data has an important role in mapping and monitoring tropical forest regeneration. The datasets generated provide valuable input to models of regional carbon flux. For example, Grace et al . (1995a, b) reported net annual CO2 absorption 8.5 2.0 moles m 2 for mature forests in south-west Amazonia suggesting

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, University Road, Bristol, BS8 1SS, England, UK 2: Department of Geography, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA 3: Department of Geography, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ, England, UK 4: Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian, EH26 0QB, Scotland, UK 5: Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Especiais (INPE), Av. dos Astronautas 1758, Caixa Postal 515-2201, São José dos Campos, SP, Brasil

Publication date: 2000-10-15

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