Read the full story in R&D Magazine.
Researchers have for the first time mapped the above ground carbon density of an entire country in high fidelity. They integrated field data with satellite imagery and high-resolution airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data to map the vegetation and to quantify carbon stocks throughout the Republic of Panama. The results are the first maps that report carbon stocks locally in areas as small as a hectare (2.5 acres) and yet cover millions of hectares in a short time. The system has the lowest demonstrated uncertainty of any carbon-counting approach yet—a carbon estimation uncertainty of about 10% in each hectare overflown with LiDAR as compared to field-based estimates. Importantly, it can be used across a wide range of vegetation types worldwide.