The second report that SIG and partners prepared for California’s 4th Climate Assessment, is entitled “Innovations in Measuring and Monitoring Forest Carbon Stocks in California.” The report, published in August 2018, evaluated emerging technology to measure annual aboveground live tree biomass (AGB) across spatial scales.

In their report, SIG shows that a fusion of satellite-based data with ground-level information shows great promise for measuring forest biomass at practical spatial and temporal scales. Because of the long history of fire suppression in California’s dry forests, tree loss due to wildfire is a major concern for land owners and managers. However, an emerging technology using Landsat imagery, forest inventory data, and gradient nearest neighbor imputation (referred to as LT-GNN) to measure annual AGB across spatial scales shows promise for measuring and tracking biomass gains and losses.

SIG and partners also developed a means to quantify the trade-off between biomass storage and stability for fire-prone forests using local assessments calculated from field-data and airborne light detection, and county estimates calculated from Forest Inventory and Assessment plots. Finally, they extended a field experiment at a Forest Research Station in California to gain insights into biomass dynamics of fire-prone forests. Overall, the guidance provided in this report will help California land managers better assess forest growth and loss and hopefully prevent future catastrophic fires through improved management.