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Height and biomass of mangroves in Africa from ICESat/GLAS and SRTM

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The accurate quantification of the three-dimensional (3-D) structure of mangrove forests is of great importance, particularly in Africa where deforestation rates are high and the lack of background data is a major problem. The objectives of this study are to estimate (1) the total area, (2) canopy height distributions, and (3) above-ground biomass (AGB) of mangrove forests in Africa. To derive the 3-D structure and biomass maps of mangroves, we used a combination of mangrove maps derived from Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+), lidar canopy height estimates from ICESat/GLAS (Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite/Geoscience Laser Altimeter System), and elevation data from SRTM (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission) for the African continent. The lidar measurements from the large footprint GLAS sensor were used to derive local estimates of canopy height and calibrate the interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data from SRTM. We then applied allometric equations relating canopy height to biomass in order to estimate AGB from the canopy height product. The total mangrove area of Africa was estimated to be 25,960 km2 with 83% accuracy. The largest mangrove areas and the greatest total biomass were found in Nigeria covering 8573 km2 with 132 × 106 Mg AGB. Canopy height across Africa was estimated with an overall root mean square error of 3.55 m. This error includes the impact of using sensors with different resolutions and geolocation error. This study provides the first systematic estimates of mangrove area, height, and biomass in Africa.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Biospheric Sciences Laboratory,NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt,MD,20771, USA 2: Radar Systems, Jet Propulsion Laboratory,California Institute of Technology, Pasadena,CA, USA

Publication date: 20 January 2013

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