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.
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Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
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A look at how acidifying oceans could threaten the Dungeness crab, one of the most valuable fisheries on the U.S. West Coast. Watch the video.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S. View the photos.
An indigenous tribe’s deadly fight to save its ancestral land in the Amazon rainforest from logging. Learn more.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
Residents of the Chocó Rainforest in Ecuador are choosing to plant cacao over logging in an effort to slow deforestation.
Watch the video.
Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.