Effects of forest degradation classification on the uncertainty of aboveground carbon estimates in the Amazon

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Springer Nature
Background Tropical forests are critical for the global carbon budget, yet they have been threatened by deforestation and forest degradation by fire, selective logging, and fragmentation. Existing uncertainties on land cover classification and in biomass estimates hinder accurate attribution of carbon emissions to specific forest classes. In this study, we used textural metrics derived from PlanetScope images to implement a probabilistic classification framework to identify intact, logged and burned forests in three Amazonian sites. We also estimated biomass for these forest classes using airborne lidar and compared biomass uncertainties using the lidar-derived estimates only to biomass uncertainties considering the forest degradation classification as well. Results Our classification approach reached overall accuracy of 0.86, with accuracy at individual sites varying from 0.69 to 0.93. Logged forests showed variable biomass changes, while burned forests showed an average carbon loss of 35%. We found that including uncertainty in forest degradation classification significantly increased uncertainty and decreased estimates of mean carbon density in two of the three test sites. Conclusions Our findings indicate that the attribution of biomass changes to forest degradation classes needs to account for the uncertainty in forest degradation classification. By combining very high-resolution images with lidar data, we could attribute carbon stock changes to specific pathways of forest degradation. This approach also allows quantifying uncertainties of carbon emissions associated with forest degradation through logging and fire. Both the attribution and uncertainty quantification provide critical information for national greenhouse gas inventories.
© The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data. The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Carbon Balance and Management, 2023, available online at: https://cbmjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13021-023-00221-5 . Keywords: forest degradation; selective logging; forest fire; very high-resolution imagery; probabilistic classifcation; airborne lidar; biomass; Amazon.
Rangel Pinagé, E., Keller, M., Peck, C.P. et al. Effects of forest degradation classification on the uncertainty of aboveground carbon estimates in the Amazon. Carbon Balance Manage 18, 2 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13021-023-00221-5