22 Jul 2010:
New NASA Map Illustrates
Height of Global Forest Canopies
Scientists have compiled the first map detailing the height of forests worldwide
, an inventory they hope will provide new insights into global carbon storage.
The map — compiled from data collected over seven years using NASA satellite laser technology that can measure vertical “slices” of different tree heights in forests — shows that the tallest forests on Earth are in the Pacific Northwest of North America and across parts of Southeast Asia. Shorter forests predominate across northern Canada and Eurasia. The tallest canopies are found in temperate conifer forests, which include Douglas fir, redwoods, and sequoias, and can easily reach 131 feet (40 meters) in height; some California redwoods are more than 300 feet tall. In contrast, boreal forests — which include spruce, fir, larch, and pine — have canopies that are typically less than 66 feet. NASA scientists hope the map will help them determine how much of the world’s carbon is stored in forests; which types of forest absorb more carbon than others; where some 2 billion tons of “missing” carbon released by humans annually ends up; and how well the planet can continue to absorb rising CO2 emissions.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
e360 on Facebook
Donate to e360
View mobile site
Subscribe to our newsletter
Subscribe to our feed:
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
, winner of the Yale Environment 360 Video Contest, documents the work of African researchers monitoring wildlife in Uganda's remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Watch the video.