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Beyond trees: Mapping total aboveground biomass density in the Brazilian savanna using high-density UAV-lidar data

Date: July 1, 2021

This whitepaper delves into the pivotal role tropical savanna ecosystems play in the global carbon cycle, particularly focusing on the Brazilian Savanna (Cerrado). It examines the uncertain capacity of these ecosystems to store and sequester carbon due to the intertwined effects of human activities and climate change. Utilizing high-density UAV-LiDAR technology, this study provides a comprehensive analysis of the above ground biomass density (AGBt) across diverse vegetation formations in Cerrado, including forests, savannas, and grasslands.

The research highlights the development and validation of regression models to estimate AGBt, emphasizing the model that incorporates vegetation height and cover as the most effective, achieving an adjusted R2 of 0.79. This model was used to map AGBt over a vast area, demonstrating the feasibility and potential of UAV-LiDAR in accurately estimating biomass. Additionally, the study underscores the necessity for improved biomass estimation in grasslands to enhance the understanding of the global carbon balance and support integrated fire management.

The findings presented in this whitepaper provide critical insights and benchmarks for future research, aiming to generate precise biomass maps and inform effective carbon emission mitigation strategies in tropical savanna ecosystems.

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