Esri Publishes Woods Hole Research Center’s Carbon Density Dataset
Redlands, California—Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) is using Esri’s ArcGIS Online to make its new carbon stock datasets available. Scientists and decision makers from around the world can now access this data and use GIS to study tropical forest carbon density and change, which impacts the atmosphere and affects climate change.
“One of our objectives is to make our data available to decision makers so they can make wise decisions based on science,” said Greg Fiske, associate researcher and GIS manager at WHRC. “Sharing these data with Esri and integrating it with ArcGIS Online is a great route for achieving this goal.”
The carbon density dataset includes carbon contained in the aboveground live woody vegetation of tropical America, Africa, and Asia. “We at WHRC are proud to be at the very cutting edge of this type of research in tropical forests and we are honored to partner with ESRI to help make the results available,” said Dr. Eric Davidson, executive director of WHRC. “Knowing how much carbon is in these forests is key to devising effective programs and finances to conserve them.” Researchers can easily access the new 500m high-resolution carbon-density dataset via a few clicks and bring it into their ArcGIS environment. This enables them to
- Estimate the amount of carbon stored in the vegetation of the world’s pan tropical forests.
- See how aboveground carbon is distributed across land cover types both locally and regionally.
- Estimate CO2 emissions from tropical deforestation.
- Calculate carbon units of forests for the carbon exchange market.
The WHRC database, developed with support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Google Foundation, and the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, is more accurate than previous data collections because of developments in satellite sensors designed specifically for vegetation measurements from LiDAR data, Light detection and ranging data, and MoDIS data from NASA. The output layer is “metric tonnes of biomass,” which is basically the amount of matter sitting in each pixel. Included in the carbon density model are the actual measurements of trees sampled at thousands of locations throughout the tropics. Workers from these field campaigns used established protocols that were designed to standardize data collection.
“The science and expertise that WHRC have put into this important dataset increases data credibility for climate change analysis and land use decision making,” said Jack Dangermond, president of Esri. “The addition of this and other carbon datasets contributed by the Center to ArcGIS Online makes the service richer for all users.”
WHRC uses Esri products for many of its research projects. By using ArcGIS Online, it has extended its GIS with a public platform that provides a cloud-based, collaborative content management system for maps, apps, data, and other geographic information. Data consumers can access the dataset at www.arcgis.com.
The Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) is a private, non-profit research organization focusing on environmental sciences. Our scientists combine analysis of satellite images of the Earth with field studies to measure, model, and map changes in the world’s ecosystems, from the thawing permafrost in the Arctic to the expanding agriculture regions of the tropics. We work locally and regionally, with in-depth expertise and collaborations in North and South America and Africa; and we also work globally, focusing on how humans are changing global cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and water. We merge natural science with economics to discover sustainable paths for human prosperity and stewardship of the Earth’s natural resources.
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