Reply to Comment on ‘A first map of tropical Africa’s above-ground biomass derived from satellite imagery’ Academic Article uri icon


  • Biomass mapping using satellite imagery is a rapidly evolving field that has been greatly facilitated in recent years by the advent of LiDAR remote sensing coupled with co-located field measurements. The biomass map of Africa that we published in 2008 did not take direct advantage of coincident field and LiDAR measurements, as our more recent efforts have. The criticisms of our earlier map by Mitchard et al (2011 Environ. Res. Lett. 6 049001) are duly noted and worthwhile, although they are also limited in several respects that we describe. Most notably, they assess our map with field data sets that are only representative of a subset of conditions across the study domain, thus they not only inadequately characterize undisturbed tropical forest regions but also the diverse disturbance dynamics that are captured in satellite imagery. We point out the limitations of their assessment and focus on a way forward, moving beyond both inadequate field sampling and remote sensing to an approach the captures the full range of dynamics by directly coupling field and satellite measurements.

publication date

  • October 1, 2011