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March 6th, 2012
Tropic Forest Dataset Available on ArcGIS Online

“We at WHRC are proud to be at the very cutting edge of this type of research in tropical forests, and we are honored to partner with Esri to help make the results available,” said Dr. Eric Davidson, executive director of WHRC. “Knowing how much carbon is in these forests is key to devising effective programs and finances to conserve them.”  The Pantropic Biomass dataset includes carbon contained in the aboveground live woody vegetation of tropical America, Africa, and Asia. At 500-meter resolution, it is the highest-resolution carbon-density dataset to date. Researchers will be able to access the dataset via a few clicks and bring it into the ArcGIS environment. This enables them to

  • Estimate the amount of carbon stored in the vegetation of the world’s pantropic forests
  • See how aboveground carbon is distributed across land-cover types both locally and regionally
  • Estimate CO2 emissions from tropical deforestation
  • Calculate carbon units of forests for the carbon exchange market

“The science and expertise the WHRC has put into this important dataset increases data credibility for climate change analysis and land-use decision making,” said Jack Dangermond, president of Esri. “The addition of this and other carbon datasets contributed by Woods Hole to ArcGIS Online makes the service richer for all users.”

The WHRC database is more accurate than previous data collections because of developments in satellite sensors designed specifically for vegetation measurements derived from LiDAR data and MoDIS data from NASA. The output layer is “metric tons of biomass,” which is basically the amount of matter sitting in each pixel. Included in the carbon-density model are the actual measurements of trees sampled at thousands of locations throughout the tropics. Workers from these field campaigns used established protocols that were designed to standardize data collection.

The carbon-density dataset was developed with support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Google Foundation, and the David and Lucille Packard Foundation.

WHRC uses Esri products for many of its research projects. By using ArcGIS Online, it has extended its GIS with a public platform that provides a cloud-based, collaborative content management system for maps, apps, data, and other geographic information. Data consumers can access the Pantropic Biomass dataset at esri.com/tropcarbon.

About Esri

Since 1969, Esri has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in GIS technology, Esri software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. Esri applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world’s mapping and spatial analysis. Esri is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms. Visit us at esri.com/news.

 

About WHRC

The Woods Hole Research Center is a private, nonprofit research organization focusing on environmental sciences. Our scientists combine analysis of satellite images of the earth with field studies to measure, model, and map changes in the world’s ecosystems, from the thawing permafrost in the Arctic to the expanding agriculture regions of the tropics. We work locally and regionally, with in-depth expertise and collaborations in North and South America and Africa; and we also work globally, focusing on how humans are changing global cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and water. We merge natural science with economics to discover sustainable paths for human prosperity and stewardship of the earth’s natural resources.