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A New Approach for Estimating Carbon Emissions from Deforestation

Ruth DeFries, University of Maryland College Park, (Presenting)
van der Werf Guido, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam,
Doug Morton, University of Maryland College Park,
G. James Collatz, Goddard Space Flight Center,
James Randerson, University of California Irvine,

The UNFCCC policy discussion on carbon credits for reducing deforestation in the post-Kyoto commitment period heightens the need for accurate and repeatable methods to estimate carbon emissions from deforestation. The DECAF model estimates emissions from deforestation fires and subsequent respiration with satellite inputs of deforestation area, NDVI, burned area, active fire, and land cover following deforestation. Application of the model to the state of Mato Grosso indicates that the fate of land use following deforestation strongly determines emissions. Respiration of biomass remaining after the initial fire is a smaller contributor to emissions (~5%) than previous estimates (~20%). Accounting for the timing of deforestation fires, which can span several years, alters the interannual variability of deforestation emissions compared with previous approaches. At the basin- and continental-scale, satellite-derived estimates of biomass burning help identify the major areas contributing to deforestation emissions.

Science Theme:  LC (Land Use and Land Cover Change)

Session:  Plenary 1

Presentation Type:  Oral (view presentation (7502 KB))

Abstract ID: 19

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