Using Landsat TM data to estimate carbon release from burned biomass in an Alaskan spruce forest complex
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): J. L. Michalek; Nancy H. F. French; Eric S. Kasischke; Russell D. Johnson; J. E. Colwell
Publication Year: 2000

Cataloging Information

  • biomass burning
  • black spruce
  • burn severity
  • carbon release
  • global carbon budget
  • mixedwood
  • remote sensing
  • spruce forest complex
  • tree density
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: May 20, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 4687


Fire disturbance in boreal forests can release carbon to the atmosphere stored in both the aboveground vegetation and the organic soil layer. Estimating pyrogenic emissions of carbon released during biomass burning in these forests is useful for understanding and estimating global carbon budgets. A method is proposed to estimate carbon efflux for the burned black spruce (Picea mariana) in an Alaskan forest by combining information derived from Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) data and field measurements. The spatial and spectral information of TM data (1992 and 1995) was used to identify and measure pre-burn P. mariana density and burn severity. Field measurements (summer 1995 and 1996) provided estimates of aboveground and ground layer carbon per unit area for the pre-burn Landsat spectral classes, and percentage of carbon consumed for the post-burn Landsat spectral classes. Carbon release estimates for the burned P. mariana were computed using field data and the co-occurrence of the pre-burn and post-burn spectral classes. The estimated carbon released was 39.9 t ha-1, which is 57% greater than an estimate computed using AVHRR data and estimates of pre-burn biomass and carbon fractions consumed that were not site specific or spatially varying. It is concluded that the spectral bands and spatial resolution of Landsat TM data provide the potential for improved estimates of pyrogenic carbon efflux relative to the coarser spectral and spatial resolution of other multispectral sensors.

Online Link(s):
Michalek, J.L.; French, Nancy H. F.; Kasischke, Eric S.; Johnson, Russell D.; Colwell, J.E. 2000. Using Landsat TM data to estimate carbon release from burned biomass in an Alaskan spruce forest complex. International Journal of Remote Sensing 21(2):323-338.