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Journal Articles Remote Sensing Year : 2022

Assessing the Predictive Power of Democratic Republic of Congo’s National Spaceborne Biomass Map over Independent Test Samples

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Augustin Lamulamu
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Luca Birigazzi
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Abstract

Remotely sensed maps of forest carbon stocks have enormous potential for supporting greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory and monitoring in tropical countries. However, most countries have not used maps as the reference data for GHG inventory due to the lack of confidence in the accuracy of maps and of data to perform local validation. Here, we use the first national forest inventory (NFI) data of the Democratic Republic of Congo to perform an independent assessment of the country’s latest national spaceborne carbon stocks map. We compared plot-to-plot variations and areal estimates of forest aboveground biomass (AGB) derived from NFI data and from the map across jurisdictional and ecological domains. Across all plots, map predictions were nearly unbiased and captured c. 60% of the variation in NFI plots AGB. Map performance was not uniform along the AGB gradient, and saturated around c. 290 Mg ha−1, increasingly underestimating forest AGB above this threshold. Splitting NFI plots by land cover types, we found map predictions unbiased in the dominant terra firme Humid forest class, while plot-to-plot variations were poorly captured (R2 of c. 0.33, or c. 0.20 after excluding disturbed plots). In contrast, map predictions underestimated AGB by c. 33% in the small AGB woodland savanna class but captured a much greater share of plot-to-plot AGB variation (R2 of c. 0.41, or 0.58 after excluding disturbed plots). Areal estimates from the map and NFI data depicted a similar trend with a slightly smaller (but statistically indiscernible) mean AGB from the map across the entire study area (i.e., 252.7 vs. 280.6 Mg ha−1), owing to the underestimation of mean AGB in the woodland savanna domain (31.8 vs. 57.3 Mg ha−1), which was broadly consistent with the results obtained at the provincial level. This study provides insights and outlooks for country-wide AGB mapping efforts in the tropics and the computation of emission factors in Democratic Republic of Congo for carbon monitoring initiatives
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Dates and versions

hal-03811960 , version 1 (12-10-2022)

Licence

Attribution - CC BY 4.0

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Augustin Lamulamu, Pierre Ploton, Luca Birigazzi, Liang Xu, Sassan Saatchi, et al.. Assessing the Predictive Power of Democratic Republic of Congo’s National Spaceborne Biomass Map over Independent Test Samples. Remote Sensing, 2022, 14 (16), pp.4126. ⟨10.3390/rs14164126⟩. ⟨hal-03811960⟩
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