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The use of airborne laser scanning to develop a pixel-based stratification for a verified carbon offset project

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Author(s): Golinkoff Jordan | Hanus Mark | Carah Jennifer

Journal: Carbon Balance and Management
ISSN 1750-0680

Volume: 6;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 9;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Forest carbon offsets | MRV | LiDAR | Airborne Laser Scanning | stratification | post-stratification | carbon project | carbon stock estimation

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background The voluntary carbon market is a new and growing market that is increasingly important to consider in managing forestland. Monitoring, reporting, and verifying carbon stocks and fluxes at a project level is the single largest direct cost of a forest carbon offset project. There are now many methods for estimating forest stocks with high accuracy that use both Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) and high-resolution optical remote sensing data. However, many of these methods are not appropriate for use under existing carbon offset standards and most have not been field tested. Results This paper presents a pixel-based forest stratification method that uses both ALS and optical remote sensing data to optimally partition the variability across an ~10,000 ha forest ownership in Mendocino County, CA, USA. This new stratification approach improved the accuracy of the forest inventory, reduced the cost of field-based inventory, and provides a powerful tool for future management planning. This approach also details a method of determining the optimum pixel size to best partition a forest. Conclusions The use of ALS and optical remote sensing data can help reduce the cost of field inventory and can help to locate areas that need the most intensive inventory effort. This pixel-based stratification method may provide a cost-effective approach to reducing inventory costs over larger areas when the remote sensing data acquisition costs can be kept low on a per acre basis.
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