Next Article in Journal
Detecting Different Types of Directional Land Cover Changes Using MODIS NDVI Time Series Dataset
Next Article in Special Issue
Sensitivity of L-Band SAR Backscatter to Aboveground Biomass of Global Forests
Previous Article in Journal
Remote Sensing of Black Lakes and Using 810 nm Reflectance Peak for Retrieving Water Quality Parameters of Optically Complex Waters
Previous Article in Special Issue
Evaluation of MODIS LAI/FPAR Product Collection 6. Part 2: Validation and Intercomparison
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Remote Sens. 2016, 8(6), 494; doi:10.3390/rs8060494

Abiotic Controls on Macroscale Variations of Humid Tropical Forest Height

1
Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
2
Earth and Environment, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA
3
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
4
Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
5
Agence National des Parks Nationaux, Battery 4, Libreville B.P. 20379, Gabon
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Sangram Ganguly, Compton Tucker, Nicolas Baghdadi and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 31 March 2016 / Revised: 29 May 2016 / Accepted: 7 June 2016 / Published: 14 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Vegetation Structure and Dynamics)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [8046 KB, uploaded 14 June 2016]   |  

Abstract

Spatial variation of tropical forest tree height is a key indicator of ecological processes associated with forest growth and carbon dynamics. Here we examine the macroscale variations of tree height of humid tropical forests across three continents and quantify the climate and edaphic controls on these variations. Forest tree heights are systematically sampled across global humid tropical forests with more than 2.5 million measurements from Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) satellite observations (2004–2008). We used top canopy height (TCH) of GLAS footprints to grid the statistical mean and variance and the 90 percentile height of samples at 0.5 degrees to capture the regional variability of average and large trees globally. We used the spatial regression method (spatial eigenvector mapping-SEVM) to evaluate the contributions of climate, soil and topography in explaining and predicting the regional variations of forest height. Statistical models suggest that climate, soil, topography, and spatial contextual information together can explain more than 60% of the observed forest height variation, while climate and soil jointly explain 30% of the height variations. Soil basics, including physical compositions such as clay and sand contents, chemical properties such as PH values and cation-exchange capacity, as well as biological variables such as the depth of organic matter, all present independent but statistically significant relationships to forest height across three continents. We found significant relations between the precipitation and tree height with shorter trees on the average in areas of higher annual water stress, and large trees occurring in areas with low stress and higher annual precipitation but with significant differences across the continents. Our results confirm other landscape and regional studies by showing that soil fertility, topography and climate may jointly control a significant variation of forest height and influencing patterns of aboveground biomass stocks and dynamics. Other factors such as biotic and disturbance regimes, not included in this study, may have less influence on regional variations but strongly mediate landscape and small-scale forest structure and dynamics. View Full-Text
Keywords: tropical forest; height; lidar; climate; soil; biomass tropical forest; height; lidar; climate; soil; biomass
Figures

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary material

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Yang, Y.; Saatchi, S.S.; Xu, L.; Yu, Y.; Lefsky, M.A.; White, L.; Knyazikhin, Y.; Myneni, R.B. Abiotic Controls on Macroscale Variations of Humid Tropical Forest Height. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 494.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Remote Sens. EISSN 2072-4292 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top