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The Importance of Consistent Global Forest Aboveground Biomass Product Validation

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Duncanson, L. ; Armston, J. ; Disney, M. ; Avitabile, V. ; Barbier, N. ; Calders, K. ; Carter, S. ; Chave, J. ; Herold, M. ; Crowther, T.W. ; Falkowski, M. ; Kellner, J.R. ; Labrière, N. ; Lucas, R. ; MacBean, N. ; McRoberts, R.E. ; Meyer, V. ; Næsset, E. ; Nickeson, J.E. ; Paul, K.I. ; Phillips, O.L. ; Réjou-Méchain, M. ; Román, M. ; Roxburgh, S. ; Saatchi, S. ; Schepaschenko, D. ; Scipal, K. ; Siqueira, P.R. ; Whitehurst, A. ; Williams, M.

Year Published



Surveys in Geophysics


Several upcoming satellite missions have core science requirements to produce data for accurate forest aboveground biomass mapping. Largely because of these mission datasets, the number of available biomass products is expected to greatly increase over the coming decade. Despite the recognized importance of biomass mapping for a wide range of science, policy and management applications, there remains no community accepted standard for satellite-based biomass map validation. The Committee on Earth Observing Satellites (CEOS) is developing a protocol to fill this need in advance of the next generation of biomass- relevant satellites, and this paper presents a review of biomass validation practices from a CEOS perspective. We outline the wide range of anticipated user requirements for product accuracy assessment and provide recommendations for the validation of biomass products. These recommendations include the collection of new, high-quality in situ data and the use of airborne lidar biomass maps as tools toward transparent multi-resolution validation. Adoption of community-vetted validation standards and practices will facilitate the uptake of the next generation of biomass products.


Map validation; Biomass mapping; Reference data; Committee on Earth Observing Satellites; Remote sensing; Lidar


Duncanson, L.; Armston, J.; Disney, M.; Avitabile, V.; Barbier, N.; Calders, K.; Carter, S.; Chave, J.; Herold, M.; Crowther, T.W.; Falkowski, M.; Kellner, J.R.; Labrière, N.; Lucas, R.; MacBean, N.; McRoberts, R.E.; Meyer, V.; Næsset, E.; Nickeson, J.E.; Paul, K.I.; Phillips, O.L.; Réjou-Méchain, M.; Román, M.; Roxburgh, S.; Saatchi, S.; Schepaschenko, D.; Scipal, K.; Siqueira, P.R.; Whitehurst, A.; Williams, M. 2019. The Importance of Consistent Global Forest Aboveground Biomass Product Validation. Surveys in Geophysics. 40(4): 979-999.

Last updated on: October 1, 2019