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Estimation of Forest Canopy Height and Aboveground Biomass from Spaceborne LiDAR and Landsat Imageries in Maryland

1,2, 1,2,* and 1,2
State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Jointly Sponsored by Beijing Normal University and the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, CAS, Beijing 100875, China
Beijing Engineering Research Center for Global Land Remote Sensing Products, Institute of Remote Sensing Science and Engineering, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(2), 344;
Received: 24 November 2017 / Revised: 15 February 2018 / Accepted: 18 February 2018 / Published: 23 February 2018
PDF [23300 KB, uploaded 23 February 2018]


Mapping the regional distribution of forest canopy height and aboveground biomass is worthwhile and necessary for estimating the carbon stocks on Earth and assessing the terrestrial carbon flux. In this study, we produced maps of forest canopy height and the aboveground biomass at a 30 m spatial resolution in Maryland by combining Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) data and Landsat spectral imageries. The processes for calculating the forest biomass included the following: (i) processing the GLAS waveform and calculating spatially discrete forest canopy heights; (ii) developing canopy height models from Landsat imagery and extrapolating them to spatially contiguous canopy heights in Maryland; and, (iii) estimating forest aboveground biomass according to the relationship between canopy height and biomass. In our study, we explore the ability to use the GLAS waveform to calculate canopy height without ground-measured forest metrics (R2 = 0.669, RMSE = 4.82 m, MRE = 15.4%). The machine learning models performed better than the principal component model when mapping the regional forest canopy height and aboveground biomass. The total forest aboveground biomass in Maryland reached approximately 160 Tg. When compared with the existing Biomass_CMS map, our biomass estimates presented a similar distribution where higher values were in the Western Shore Uplands region and Folded Application Mountain section, while lower values were located in the Delmarva Peninsula and Allegheny Mountain regions. View Full-Text
Keywords: forest canopy height; aboveground biomass; ICESat GLAS; Landsat; random forest model forest canopy height; aboveground biomass; ICESat GLAS; Landsat; random forest model

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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).
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Wang, M.; Sun, R.; Xiao, Z. Estimation of Forest Canopy Height and Aboveground Biomass from Spaceborne LiDAR and Landsat Imageries in Maryland. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 344.

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