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Scale dependence in quantification of land-cover and biomass change over Siberian boreal forest landscapes

Publication Abstract

Zhao, Tingting, Kathleen M. Bergen, Daniel G. Brown, and Herman H. Shugart. 2009. "Scale dependence in quantification of land-cover and biomass change over Siberian boreal forest landscapes." Landscape Ecology, 24(10): 1299-1313.

We investigated the influence of remote sensing spatial resolution on estimates of characteristic land-cover change (LCC) and LCC-related above-ground biomass change (Δbiomass) in three study sites representative of the East Siberian boreal forest. Data included LCC estimated using an existing Landsat-derived land-cover dataset for 1990 and 2000, and above-ground standing biomass stocks simulated by the FAREAST forest succession model and applied on a pixel basis. At the base 60 m resolution, several landscape pattern metrics were derived to describe the characteristic LCC types. LCC data were progressively degraded to 240, 480, and 960 m. LCC proportions and Δbiomass were derived at each of the coarser resolutions and scale dependences of LCC and Δbiomass were analyzed. Compared to the base 60 m resolution, the Logged LCC type was highly scale dependent and was consistently underestimated at coarser resolutions. The Burned type was under- or over-estimated depending strongly on its patch size. Estimated at the base 60 m resolution, modeled biomass increased in two sites (i.e., 3.0 and 6.4 Mg C ha−1 for the Tomsk and Krasnoyarsk sites, respectively) and declined slightly in one site (i.e., −0.5 Mg C ha−1 for the Irkutsk site) between the two dates. At the degraded resolutions, the estimated Δbiomass increased to 3.3 and 7.0 Mg C ha−1 for the Tomsk and Krasnoyarsk sites, while it declined to −0.8 Mg C ha−1 for the Irkutsk site. Results indicate that LCC and Δbiomass values may be progressively amplified in either direction as resolution is degraded, depending on the mean patch size (MPS) of disturbances, and that the error of LCC and Δbiomass estimates also increases at coarser resolutions

DOI:10.1007/s10980-009-9379-z (Full Text)

Country of focus: Russian Federation.

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