Lidar used in combination with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) enables rapid 3-D mapping of aboveground vegetation, including trees, shrubs, and surface layers that have a strong influence on fire regimes and carbon cycling. However, this technology has been rarely implemented in tropical savanna ecosystems. A new study assesses the capability of UAV-lidar to estimate and map total aboveground biomass density in the Brazilian savanna (Cerrado). This biodiversity hotspot plays an important role in mitigating climate change by storing carbon in biomass, although carbon storage levels are highly uncertain. Innovative monitoring strategies are needed in the Cerrado, and other ecoregions, to quantify carbon storage and improve forest fire management. The researchers demonstrate the feasibility and potential of the UAV-lidar technology in the Cerrado, providing a biomass map and framework that can complement field assessments and be used to calibrate and validate other methods biomass estimation.
Teixeira da Costa, M.B et al. (2021). Beyond trees: Mapping total aboveground biomass density in the Brazilian savanna using high-density UAV-lidar data. Forest Ecology and Management, 491, 119155.