High-resolution carbon mapping on the million-hectare Island of Hawaii

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Abstract

Current markets and international agreements for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) rely on carbon (C) monitoring techniques. Combining field measurements, airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR)-based observations, and satellite-based imagery, we developed a 30-meter-resolution map of aboveground C density spanning 40 vegetation types found on the million-hectare Island of Hawaii. We estimate a total of 28.3 teragrams of C sequestered in aboveground woody vegetation on the island, which is 56% lower than Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that do not resolve C variation at fine spatial scales. The approach reveals fundamental ecological controls over C storage, including climate, introduced species, and land-use change, and provides a fourfold decrease in regional costs of C measurement over field sampling alone.

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