A first map of tropical Africa's above-ground biomass derived from satellite imagery

A. Baccini, N. Laporte, S. J. Goetz, M. Sun, H. Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

331 Scopus citations


Observations from the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) were used in combination with a large data set of field measurements to map woody above-ground biomass (AGB) across tropical Africa. We generated a best-quality cloud-free mosaic of MODIS satellite reflectance observations for the period 2000-2003 and used a regression tree model to predict AGB at 1 km resolution. Results based on a cross-validation approach show that the model explained 82% of the variance in AGB, with a root mean square error of 50.5Mgha-1 for a range of biomass between 0 and 454Mgha-1. Analysis of lidar metrics from the Geoscience Laser Altimetry System (GLAS), which are sensitive to vegetation structure, indicate that the model successfully captured the regional distribution of AGB. The results showed a strong positive correlation (R2 = 0.90) between the GLAS height metrics and predicted AGB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number045011
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomass
  • Carbon
  • GLAS
  • Lidar
  • REDD
  • Random Forest
  • Regression tree

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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