This post was originally published on Sonoma County Veg Map.
As a companion study to the vegetation mapping program, Dr. Ralph Dubayah from the University of Maryland is producing a map of carbon sequestered in Sonoma County’s live vegetation. This work is funded by NASA (read more in this press release).
When natural vegetation (biomass) is removed, much of the stored carbon is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. The carbon data will be embedded into the fine-scale vegetation map in order to quantify the role natural landscapes play in reducing climate change. The carbon map will be created using information derived from the new LiDAR data and orthophotography. Carbon mapping also requires field data with detailed information about tree size, density, and height.
Dr. Dubayah and his group at the University of Maryland have hired a local botanist, Aaron Arthur from WRA, Inc., to collect the field data. Working with the University of Maryland’s Amanda Whitehurst, Aaron began his variable radius plot data collection in April. In just over one week, they made major headway, collecting 39 plots across northern Sonoma County.