Aboveground Forest Carbon Stocks in Mexico

Mexico was one of the first tropical nations to voluntarily pledge to mitigation actions within the context of the United Nation’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) program. To demonstrate the performance of these voluntary mitigation actions, baseline data of carbon stock inventories are essential.

In collaboration with Mexico’s National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR) and the Mexican Norway Project (MNP), a team of scientists at Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC), led by Josef Kellndorfer and Oliver Cartus, has created a detailed national map of aboveground forest carbon stocks. This map, sponsored by USAID within the framework of Mexico’s REDD+ project led by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), would assist the national government to enhance a robust Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system for national carbon emissions.


Map Credit: Remote Sensing (select map image to view a larger version)

The map is a good tool for Mexico because it integrates field measurements with high-resolution radar and optical satellite data. Building upon the country’s National Forest Inventory (INFyS), which provided field measurements for 26,000 plots across Mexico, as a base, the team layered spatial image data from the Japanese ALOS PALSAR radar and U.S. Landsat satellite sensors, which contain complementary information on forest density and structure. The fusion of these three datasets allows for continuous estimates at ever-finer scales at which the National Forest Inventory is undersampled.

The maps and findings were published as “A National, Detailed Map of Forest Aboveground Carbon Stocks in Mexico” in the journal Remote Sensing.

Zipped data file from website (1.3 GB)

Read the disclaimer on the use of the data.

Funding and support

This work was made possible by USAID within the framework of Mexico’s REDD+ project, Google.org, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.



Key Project Partners

CONAFOR, NASA, the University of Maryland, CONABIO, US Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy.