February 22, 2012

From NASA’s Earth Observatory:
“The coastal Pacific Northwest of the United States has the tallest trees in North America, averaging as much as 40 meters (131 feet) in height. It has the densest biomass—the total mass of organisms living within a given area—in the country. But for centuries, it also has been a much-tapped resource for lumber; land-clearing for agriculture and development have also trimmed the woodlands. Both the lumber companies and forest managers have an interest in measuring the health of these forests.
The maps above are a subset of that nationwide mapping project. The top map shows one of 66 mapping zones across the country; in this case, Washington state and a sliver of Oregon. The inset map (lower) shows the fine scale of that forest (the image is roughly 20 kilometers wide), which allows researchers to see the regular patterns of logging and development, and the more erratic shape of areas lost to fires and pests.”

Inset map of Washington forests

From NASA’s Earth Observatory:

The coastal Pacific Northwest of the United States has the tallest trees in North America, averaging as much as 40 meters (131 feet) in height. It has the densest biomass—the total mass of organisms living within a given area—in the country. But for centuries, it also has been a much-tapped resource for lumber; land-clearing for agriculture and development have also trimmed the woodlands. Both the lumber companies and forest managers have an interest in measuring the health of these forests.

The maps above are a subset of that nationwide mapping project. The top map shows one of 66 mapping zones across the country; in this case, Washington state and a sliver of Oregon. The inset map (lower) shows the fine scale of that forest (the image is roughly 20 kilometers wide), which allows researchers to see the regular patterns of logging and development, and the more erratic shape of areas lost to fires and pests.”

July 12, 2011
Trees as agriculture? And how logging impacts climate change

Logged forest 1984

Logged forest 1984

Logged forest 2010

Logged forest 2010

From NASA:

"A checkerboard pattern spread across mountains and valleys is usually a signature of agriculture. These squares in Washington state are no exception, but the crop being farmed is trees, and the growing season spans decades. This pair of images, both from the Landsat 5 satellite, shows grids of forest disappearing and gradually regrowing over 26 years.

In 1984, logging in the area appears to be in the early stages. In many places, red-brown earth is exposed under the swaths of freshly cut forest. Other grids, cleared just a bit earlier, are pale green with newly growing grasses or very young trees. The rest of the image is dominated by the deep green of dense, mature forest.

In 2010, the logging operation seems to be more mature. There is little evidence of fresh cuts, but some areas have been recently cleared. Pockets of mature forest remain, and forest is regrowing in other places. Grids that had been clear in 1984 are forested in 2010.

Satellite images like these help scientists estimate how much carbon dioxide goes into the atmosphere when a forest is cleared, and how much carbon dioxide is being taken out of the atmosphere as a forest regrows.”

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