USFS/GEDI Old Growth Forest Visualizations

  • Released Thursday, April 20, 2023
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The U.S. Forest Service has studied mature and old-growth forests – broadly characterized as forests at an advanced stage of development – in hundreds of thousands of plots across the country. To define, identify, and create the first formal accounting of these national resources, the team assessed decades of field-gathered Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data covering a wide variety of forest types and ecological zones across the country.

Complementing the Forest Service’s analysis, NASA-funded scientists are drawing on a space-based instrument called GEDI (Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation) to provide a broad and detailed picture of these forests. From its perch on the International Space Station, GEDI’s laser imager (lidar) is able to peer through dense canopies to observe nearly all of Earth’s temperate and tropical forests. By recording the way the laser pulses are reflected by the ground and by plant material (stems, branches, and leaves) at different heights, GEDI makes detailed measurements of the three-dimensional structure of the planet’s surface. It can even estimate the weight and stature of individual trees.

The Forest Service plans to work alongside NASA to gather aerial and satellite imagery and map mature and old-growth forests at finer scales. Such data can also help the Forest Service create a long-term monitoring system. Meanwhile, a team of interagency experts will analyze and assess threats and risks to these areas.

Legend - GEDI Vegetation Height Above Ground and Forest Inventory and Analysis marker

Legend - GEDI Vegetation Height Above Ground and Forest Inventory and Analysis marker

Overlay map highlighting the location for the old growth example zoom in (East US)

Overlay map highlighting the location for the old growth example zoom in (East US)

Overlay map highlighting the location for the old growth example zoom in (Northwest US)

Overlay map highlighting the location for the old growth example zoom in (Northwest US)



Credits

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

Release date

This page was originally published on Thursday, April 20, 2023.
This page was last updated on Sunday, June 23, 2024 at 11:10 PM EDT.


Datasets used in this visualization

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