Accurate information on the global distribution and the three-dimensional (3D) structure of Earth’s forests is needed to assess forest biomass stocks and to project the future of the terrestrial Carbon sink. In spite of its importance, the 3D structure of forests continues to be the most crucial information gap in the observational archive. The Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensor is providing an unprecedented near-global sampling of tropical and temperate forest structural properties. The integration of GEDI measurements with spatially-contiguous observations from polar orbiting optical satellite data therefore provides a unique opportunity to produce wall-to-wall maps of forests’ 3D structure. Here, we utilized Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) annual metrics data to extrapolate GEDI-derived forest structure attributes into 1-km resolution contiguous maps of tree height (TH), canopy fraction cover (CFC), plant area index (PAI), and foliage height diversity (FHD) for the conterminous US (CONUS). The maps were validated using an independent subset of GEDI data. Validation results for TH (r2
= 0.8; RMSE = 3.35 m), CFC (r2
= 0.79; RMSE = 0.09), PAI (r2
= 0.76; RMSE = 0.41), and FHD (r2
= 0.83; RMSE = 0.25) demonstrated the robustness of VIIRS data for extrapolating GEDI measurements across the nation or even over larger areas. The methodology developed through this study may allow multi-decadal monitoring of changes in multiple forest structural attributes using consistent satellite observations acquired by orbiting and forthcoming VIIRS instruments.
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