Assessment, Uncertainties and Applications of Global Above-ground Biomass Maps from Earth Observation

Samenvatting (engelstalig)

Forests are critical to our planet as they help
combat climate change by storing and absorbing carbon that is trapped in the
atmosphere. The carbon content of forests is measured by above-ground biomass (AGB) and AGB can be mapped globally using satellite data. The AGB maps are
considered “Essential Climate Variables” used to model climate change
projections. This thesis developed a framework to assess global AGB maps and
their uncertainties that lead to the reduction of map errors and an
understanding of whether the maps have shown the same carbon “losses”, “gains”
and “no change” (carbon fluxes) in the past decade. These assessments are very
important for improving upcoming maps and for the usability of the maps not
only for improving current climate and carbon cycle models, but also for the
mandated carbon accounting of countries as part of their commitments in the
Paris Agreement. This thesis also developed methodologies to help countries
identify carbon loss and gain hotspots regularly towards efficient and more
accurate carbon accounting.