New publication (1 of 4): Dense forest carbon, mapped at unprecedented resolution and extent

A new paper describing the carbon status of the North Pacific temperate rainforests of southeast Alaska was just accepted for publication by PLOS ONE, and will be out soon. It’s the first study to every document and map the biomass C of the densest forest in the United States, the Tongass rainforest and surrounds. In this paper we used USFS data and machine learning, coupled with disturbance modeling, to build a climate, topography, and disturbance sensitive model. We then used the validated model to test if disturbances were driving down forest carbon across the region or if they were actually increasing baseline carbon (they are pretty rare). We found higher carbon in areas of higher disturbance exposure, to a point, indicating that infrequent disturbances do likely result in more productive landscapes compared to areas where disturbances are non-existent.

Buma B, Thompson T. Long-term exposure to more frequent disturbances increases baseline carbon in some ecosystems: Mapping and quantifying the disturbance frequency-ecosystem C relationship. PLOS One.  In press.

Figure 2 from the publication - the map, validation points, and what happens to predicted carbon stocks in the model if disturbances are set up their lowest setting.