The rapid vegetation line shift in response to glacial dynamics and climate variability in Himalaya between 2000 and 2014

Climate change is causing glaciers to retreat across much of the Himalaya, leading to a rapid shift of the vegetation cover to higher altitudes. However, the rate of vegetation shift with respect to glacier retreat, climate change, and topographic parameters is not empirically quantified. Using remote sensing measurements, we estimate (a) the rate of glacier-ice…

Forest disturbance and growth processes are reflected in the geographic distribution of large canopy gaps across the Brazilian Amazon

Canopy gaps are openings in the forest canopy resulting from branch fall and tree mortality events. The geographical distribution of large canopy gaps may reflect underlying variation in mortality and growth processes. However, a lack of data at the appropriate scale has limited our ability to study this relationship until now. We detected canopy gaps…

Monitoring early-successional trees for tropical forest restoration using low-cost UAV-based species classification

Logged forests cover four million square kilometres of the tropics, capturing carbon more rapidly than temperate forests and harbouring rich biodiversity. Restoring these forests is essential to help avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Yet monitoring tropical forest recovery is challenging. We track the abundance of early-successional species in a forest restoration concession in…

Using deep convolutional neural networks to forecast spatial patterns of Amazonian deforestation

Tropical forests are subject to diverse deforestation pressures while their conservation is essential to achieve global climate goals. Predicting the location of deforestation is challenging due to the complexity of the natural and human systems involved but accurate and timely forecasts could enable effective planning and on-the-ground enforcement practices to curb deforestation rates. New computer…

A global evaluation of the effectiveness of voluntary REDD+ projects at reducing deforestation and degradation in the moist tropics

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) projects aim to contribute to climate change mitigation by protecting and enhancing carbon stocks in tropical forests, but there are no systematic global evaluations of their impact. Using a new data set for tropical humid forests, we used a standardised evaluation approach to quantify the performance of…

Aboveground biomass density models for NASA’s Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) lidar mission

NASA’s Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) is collecting spaceborne full waveform lidar data with a primary science goal of producing accurate estimates of forest aboveground biomass density (AGBD). This paper presents the development of the models used to create GEDI’s footprint-level (~25 m) AGBD (GEDI04_A) product, including a description of the datasets used and the procedure for final model…

Predicting leaf traits of temperate broadleaf deciduous trees from hyperspectral reflectance: can a general model be applied across a growing season?

Field spectroscopy is a powerful tool for monitoring leaf functional traits in situ, but it remains unclear whether universal statistical models can be developed to predict traits from spectral information, or whether re-calibration is necessary as conditions vary. In particular, multiple leaf traits vary simultaneously across growing seasons, and it is an open question whether…

Individual tree detection and crown segmentation based on metabolic theory from airborne laser scanning data

Laser scanning technology has enabled to study three-dimensional (3D) structures in forests. For example, airborne laser scanning (ALS) point cloud has been applied to detect individual trees and segment tree crowns. However, the accuracy of such approach remains a challenge because of the intersected crowns and complicated understories. We developed a metabolic theory-based algorithm for…

The impact of logging on vertical canopy structure across a gradient of tropical forest degradation intensity in Borneo

Forest degradation through logging is pervasive throughout the world’s tropical forests, leading to changes in the three-dimensional canopy structure that have profound consequences for wildlife, microclimate and ecosystem functioning. Quantifying these structural changes is fundamental to understanding the impact of degradation, but is challenging in dense, structurally complex forest canopies. We exploited discrete-return airborne LiDAR…