A Quarter-Century U.S. Forest Disturbance History Mapped from Landsat

Friday, 19 December 2014: 9:00 AM
Chengquan Huang1, Samuel N Goward1, Feng Aron Zhao1, Karen Schleeweis2, Khaldoun Rishmawi1, Jeffrey G Masek3, Warren B. Cohen4, Zhiqiang Yang5, Jennifer L Dungan6, Gretchen Moisen2 and Ramakrishna R Nemani6, (1)University of Maryland College Park, Geographical Sciences, College Park, MD, United States, (2)US Forest Service Fort Collins, Fort Collins, CO, United States, (3)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (4)US Forest Service Corvallis, Corvallis, OR, United States, (5)Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, United States, (6)NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States
Forest disturbance and recovery are among the major processes modulating biosphere-atmosphere carbon fluxes. Quantifying these fluxes therefore requires detailed spatio-temporal understanding of forest disturbance and post-disturbance recovery processes. As a core activity of the North American Carbon Program (NACP), the North American Forest Dynamics (NAFD) project is designed to produce a detailed assessment of forest dynamics over the U.S. Major objectives of this project include assessing forest disturbance across the conterminous U.S. (CONUS), validating the derived disturbance products, understanding the causal factors, and evaluating post-disturbance recovery processes. The NAFD study is enabled by the NASA Earth Exchange (NEX) collaborative computing facility, which provides massive computing and storage capacity, as well as convenient access to all required Landsat and ancillary datasets. It has produced a detailed analysis of CONUS forest disturbance for the time period 1986-2010. The main purpose of this presentation is to report the results derived through this analysis. One of the products of this analysis includes annual, detailed U.S. maps of forest disturbance patterns. These products were produced on the NEX using 20,000+ best available Landsat images acquired during that time period. They have been validated using reference data derived using the TimeSync tool at sample locations selected from across the nation. In this presentation we will first provide a brief overview of the NAFD project and then present key findings derived from the NAFD disturbance assessment, including disturbance rates, patterns, and their spatio-temporal variability at national and sub-national scales. Issues, lessons learned, and implications for future disturbance monitoring will be discussed.