Science China Earth Sciences

, Volume 62, Issue 3, pp 585–594 | Cite as

Mapping global forest biomass and its changes over the first decade of the 21st century

  • Anping ChenEmail author
  • Shushi Peng
  • Songlin Fei
Research Paper


Forests played an important role in carbon sequestration during the past two decades. Using a model tree ensemble method (MTE) to regress the seven reflectance bands of EOS-Terra-MODIS satellite data against country level forest biomass carbon density (BCD) of 2001–2005 provided by United Nations’s Forest Resource Assessment (FRA), we developed a global map of forest BCD at 1 km×1 km resolution for both 2001–2005 and 2006–2010. For 2006–2010, the total global forest biomass carbon stock is estimated as 279.6±7.1 Pg C, and the tropical forest biomass carbon stock is estimated as 174.4±5.4 Pg C. During the first decade of the 21st century, we estimated an increase of global forest biomass of 0.28±0.75 Pg C yr−1. Tropical forest biomass carbon stock slightly decreased (−0.31±0.60 Pg C yr−1); by contrast, temperate and boreal forest biomass increased (0.58±0.28 Pg C yr−1) during the same period. Our estimation of the global forest biomass carbon stock and its changes is subject to uncertainties due to lack of extensive ground measurements in the tropics, spatial heterogeneity in large countries, and different definitions of forest. The continuously monitoring of forest biomass carbon stock with MODIS satellite data will provide useful information for detecting forest changes.


Forest biomass Carbon stock Model tree ensemble (MTE) MODIS Remote sensing 


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We thank Dr. Cleo Chou for her comments on an early version of this manuscript. The work was supported by the Purdue University Forestry and Natural Resources research scholarship and the U. S. Forest Services contract grant to the Woods Hole Research Center.

Supplementary material

11430_2018_9277_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (50.8 mb)
Supplementary material, approximately 50.8 MB.


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Forestry and Natural ResourcesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.The Woods Hole Research CenterFalmouthUSA
  3. 3.Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE), CEA-CNRS-UVSQGif-sur-YvetteFrance

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