Scientists & Staff

Kristofer Johnson

Research Biologist
11 Campus Blvd. Ste. 200
Newtown Square, PA, 19073
Phone: 610-557-4115

Contact Kristofer Johnson

Current Research

1. Validating a LIDAR-based Carbon Monitoring System with FIA data. High resolution biomass maps can help identify areas that have the potential to store, or lose, terrestrial carbon. This project focuses on comparing biomass maps with FIA data for the whole state of Maryland, and methods for integrating these two resources. Funded by NASA and in collaboration with the University of Maryland.

2. Comparing mapped soil carbon estimates to process-based outputs in Alaska. Alaska is relatively data-rich in terms of soil carbon observations compared to other areas in the boreal and arctic zones, yet it is still data-poor compared to other temperate and tropical areas in the world. The question remains of how soil carbon uncertainty may influence model results, especially those concerned with predicting the response of northern regions to climate change. Funded by USGS and in collaboration with the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

3. Assessing the effects of soil map quality on carbon modeling results and scaling in Mexico. The quality of soil maps used in process-based ecosystem models is not the same for all countries and may significantly impact model results. In this study, we are simulating GPP at several 9 km2 areas in Mexico and comparing the results using soil maps of different quality and resolution. Funded by NASA and in collaboration with the University of Delaware.

Other activities. Our research unit also helps coordinate training workshops where forest carbon measurement methods are presented, mostly in Mexico but also in other latin american countries.


  • University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D. Earth Science, 2008
  • Brigham Young University, M.S. Agronomy, 2004
  • Brigham Young University, B.S. Agronomy, 2002

Professional Organizations

  • American Geophysical Union
  • Geological Society of America
  • American Society of Agronomy

Featured Publications & Products

Publications & Products

Research Datasets

  • Cole, Jason A.; Gavazzi, Michael J.; Birdsey, Richard A.; Pan, Yude; Wayson, Craig A.; McCullough, Kevin; Hoover, Coeli M.; Hollinger, David Y.; Bradford, John B.; Ryan, Michael G.; Kolka, Randall K.; Weishampel, Peter; Clark, Kenneth L.; Skowronski, Nicholas S.; Hom, John; Ollinger, Scott V.; McNulty, Steven G.; Johnson, Kristofer D. 2015. North American Carbon Program biometric database (2nd Edition). Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive.

National Research Highlights

Aboveground biomass map created with LIDAR and FIA plots for Anne Arundel and Howard Counties, Maryland. Kristofer Johnson, USDA Forest Service

How to Build a Better Map of Tree Biomass

Year: 2014

A logical way to validate biomass maps derived from remotely sensed data is to validate them with independent ground inventory estimates, but integration of the two systems is not without challenges. Forest Service scientists compared maps derived from Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) to Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) estimates in the fragmented forests of Maryland, leading to recommendations about how to improve their agreement.

Last modified: Monday, October 19, 2015