Transcripts of 12590_Puerto_Rico_lidar_youtube_720

Hurricane Maria transformed the lush rainforests of Puerto Rico leaving lots of openings in the forest canopy. NASA scientists studied the island’s forests before and after the storm. Goddard’s Lidar, Hyperspectral, and Thermal imager is a portable instrument that maps forest health and structure from a small airplane resulting in detailed 3-D views of the forest. G-LiHT sends out 600,000 laser pulses every second, mapping leaves and branches, rocks and streams. Almost 60% of the canopy trees lost branches, snapped in half, or were uprooted. Trees with wide, spreading crowns were reduced to a slender main trunk. Forests in Puerto Rico are now one-third shorter, on average, after Hurricane Maria. The disturbances affected the whole ecosystem, from soils and streams to birds and frogs. G-LiHT data will help scientists understand how forests and wildlife respond to future changes. [beeping]