Taking stock of circumboreal forest carbon with ground measurements, airborne and spaceborne LiDAR
The boreal forest accounts for one-third of global forests, but remains largely inaccessible to ground-based measurements and monitoring. It contains large quantities of carbon in its vegetation and soils, and research suggests that it will be subject to increasingly severe climate-driven disturbance. We employ a suite of ground-, airborne- and space-based measurement techniques to derive the first satellite LiDAR-based esti- mates of aboveground carbon for the entire circumboreal forest biome. Incorporating these inventory tech- niques with uncertainty analysis, we estimate total aboveground carbon of 38 ± 3.1 Pg. This boreal forest carbon is mostly concentrated from 50 to 55° N in eastern Canada and from 55 to 60° N in eastern Eurasia. Both of these regions are expected to warm N3 °C by 2100, and monitoring the effects of warming on these stocks is important to understanding its future carbon balance. Our maps establish a baseline for future quantification of circumboreal carbon and the described technique should provide a robust method for future monitoring of the spatial and temporal changes of the aboveground carbon content.