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The forests of Russia cover a larger area and hold more carbon than the forests of any other nation and thus have the potential for a major role in global warming. Despite a systematic inventory of these forests, however, estimates of total carbon stocks vary, and spatial variations in the stocks within large aggregated units of land are unknown, thus hampering measurement of sources and sinks of carbon. We mapped the distribution of living forest biomass for the year 2000 by developing a relationship between ground measurements of wood volume at 12 sites throughout the Russian Federation and data from the MODIS satellite bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) product (MOD43B4). Based on the results of regression-tree analyses, we used the MOD43B4 product to assign biomass values to individual 500 m × 500 m cells in areas identified as forest by two satellite-based maps of land cover. According to the analysis, the total living biomass varied between 46 and 67 Pg, largely because of different estimates of forest area. Although optical data are limited in distinguishing differences in biomass in closed canopy forests, the estimates of total living biomass obtained here varied more in response to different definitions of forest than to saturation of the optical sensing of biomass.

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Environmental Research Letters





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© 2007 by Institute of Physics. View original article in Environmental Research Letters, DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/2/4/045032.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.