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Age structure and disturbance legacy of North American forests

Year Published

2011

Source

Biogeosciences. 8: 715-732.

Abstract

Most forests of the world are recovering from a past disturbance. It is well known that forest disturbances profoundly affect carbon stocks and fluxes in forest ecosystems, yet it has been a great challenge to assess disturbance impacts in estimates of forest carbon budgets. Net sequestration or loss of CO2 by forests after disturbance follows a predictable pattern with forest recovery. Forest age, which is related to time since disturbance, is a useful surrogate variable for analyses of the impact of disturbance on forest carbon. In this study, we compiled the first continental forest age map of North America by combining forest inventory data, historical fire data, optical satellite data and the dataset from NASA's Landsat Ecosystem Disturbance Adaptive Processing System (LEDAPS) project. A companion map of the standard deviations for age estimates was developed for quantifying uncertainty.

Citation

Pan, Y.; Chen, J.M.; Birdsey, R.; McCullough, K.; He, L.; Deng, F. 2011. Age structure and disturbance legacy of North American forests. Biogeosciences. 8: 715-732.
Last updated on: April 22, 2011

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