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  • 1. Doktor, Daniel
    et al.
    Lausch, Angela
    Spengler, Daniel
    Thurner, Martin
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM). Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Germany.
    Extraction of Plant Physiological Status from Hyperspectral Signatures Using Machine Learning Methods2014In: Remote Sensing, ISSN 2072-4292, E-ISSN 2072-4292, Vol. 6, no 12, p. 12247-12274Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The machine learning method, random forest (RF), is applied in order to derive biophysical and structural vegetation parameters from hyperspectral signatures. Hyperspectral data are, among other things, characterized by their high dimensionality and autocorrelation. Common multivariate regression approaches, which usually include only a limited number of spectral indices as predictors, do not make full use of the available information. In contrast, machine learning methods, such as RF, are supposed to be better suited to extract information on vegetation status. First, vegetation parameters are extracted from hyperspectral signatures simulated with the radiative transfer model, PROSAIL. Second, the transferability of these results with respect to laboratory and field measurements is investigated. In situ observations of plant physiological parameters and corresponding spectra are gathered in the laboratory for summer barley (Hordeum vulgare). Field in situ measurements focus on winter crops over several growing seasons. Chlorophyll content, Leaf Area Index and phenological growth stages are derived from simulated and measured spectra. RF performs very robustly and with a very high accuracy on PROSAIL simulated data. Furthermore, it is almost unaffected by introduced noise and bias in the data. When applied to laboratory data, the prediction accuracy is still good (C-ab: R-2 = 0.94/ LAI: R-2 = 0.80/BBCH (Growth stages of mono-and dicotyledonous plants) : R-2 = 0.91), but not as high as for simulated spectra. Transferability to field measurements is given with prediction levels as high as for laboratory data (C-ab: R-2 = 0.89/LAI: R-2 = 0.89/BBCH: R-2 = similar to 0.8). Wavelengths for deriving plant physiological status based on simulated and measured hyperspectral signatures are mostly selected from appropriate spectral regions (both field and laboratory): 700-800 nm regressing on C-ab and 800-1300 nm regressing on LAI. Results suggest that the prediction accuracy of vegetation parameters using RF is not hampered by the high dimensionality of hyperspectral signatures (given preceding feature reduction). Wavelengths selected as important for prediction might, however, vary between underlying datasets. The introduction of changing environmental factors (soil, illumination conditions) has some detrimental effect, but more important factors seem to stem from measurement uncertainties and plant geometries.

  • 2. Erb, Karl-Heinz
    et al.
    Kastner, Thomas
    Plutzar, Christoph
    Bais, Anna Liza S.
    Carvalhais, Nuno
    Fetzel, Tamara
    Gingrich, Simone
    Haberl, Helmut
    Lauk, Christian
    Iedertscheider, Maria N.
    Pongratz, Julia
    Thurner, Martin
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry.
    Luyssaert, Sebastiaan
    Unexpectedly large impact of forest management and grazing on global vegetation biomass2018In: Nature, ISSN 0028-0836, E-ISSN 1476-4687, Vol. 553, no 7686, p. 73-76Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Carbon stocks in vegetation have a key role in the climate system(1-4). However, the magnitude, patterns and uncertainties of carbon stocks and the effect of land use on the stocks remain poorly quantified. Here we show, using state-of-the-art datasets, that vegetation currently stores around 450 petagrams of carbon. In the hypothetical absence of land use, potential vegetation would store around 916 petagrams of carbon, under current climate conditions. This difference highlights the massive effect of land use on biomass stocks. Deforestation and other land-cover changes are responsible for 53-58% of the difference between current and potential biomass stocks. Land management effects (the biomass stock changes induced by land use within the same land cover) contribute 42-47%, but have been underestimated in the literature. Therefore, avoiding deforestation is necessary but not sufficient for mitigation of climate change. Our results imply that trade-offs exist between conserving carbon stocks on managed land and raising the contribution of biomass to raw material and energy supply for the mitigation of climate change. Efforts to raise biomass stocks are currently verifiable only in temperate forests, where their potential is limited. By contrast, large uncertainties hinder verification in the tropical forest, where the largest potential is located, pointing to challenges for the upcoming stocktaking exercises under the Paris agreement.

  • 3. Forkel, M.
    et al.
    Carvalhais, N.
    Schaphoff, S.
    von Bloh, W.
    Migliavacca, M.
    Thurner, Martin
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM). Max Planck Society, Germany.
    Thonicke, K.
    Identifying environmental controls on vegetation greenness phenology through model-data integration2014In: Biogeosciences, ISSN 1726-4170, E-ISSN 1726-4189, Vol. 11, no 23, p. 7025-7050Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Existing dynamic global vegetation models (DGVMs) have a limited ability in reproducing phenology and decadal dynamics of vegetation greenness as observed by satellites. These limitations in reproducing observations reflect a poor understanding and description of the environmental controls on phenology, which strongly influence the ability to simulate longer-term vegetation dynamics, e.g. carbon allocation. Combining DGVMs with observational data sets can potentially help to revise current modelling approaches and thus enhance the understanding of processes that control seasonal to long-term vegetation greenness dynamics. Here we implemented a new phenology model within the LPJmL (Lund Potsdam Jena managed lands) DGVM and integrated several observational data sets to improve the ability of the model in reproducing satellite-derived time series of vegetation greenness. Specifically, we optimized LPJmL parameters against observational time series of the fraction of absorbed photosynthetic active radiation (FAPAR), albedo and gross primary production to identify the main environmental controls for seasonal vegetation greenness dynamics. We demonstrated that LPJmL with new phenology and optimized parameters better reproduces seasonality, inter-annual variability and trends of vegetation greenness. Our results indicate that soil water availability is an important control on vegetation phenology not only in water-limited biomes but also in boreal forests and the Arctic tundra. Whereas water availability controls phenology in water-limited ecosystems during the entire growing season, water availability co-modulates jointly with temperature the beginning of the growing season in boreal and Arctic regions. Additionally, water availability contributes to better explain decadal greening trends in the Sahel and browning trends in boreal forests. These results emphasize the importance of considering water availability in a new generation of phenology modules in DGVMs in order to correctly reproduce observed seasonal-to-decadal dynamics of vegetation greenness.

  • 4. Li, Wei
    et al.
    Ciais, Philippe
    Peng, Shushi
    Yue, Chao
    Wang, Yilong
    Thurner, Martin
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry.
    Saatchi, Sassan S.
    Arneth, Almut
    Avitabile, Valerio
    Carvalhais, Nuno
    Harper, Anna B.
    Kato, Etsushi
    Koven, Charles
    Liu, Yi Y.
    Nabel, Julia E. M. S.
    Pan, Yude
    Pongratz, Julia
    Poulter, Benjamin
    Pugh, Thomas A. M.
    Santoro, Maurizio
    Sitch, Stephen
    Stocker, Benjamin D.
    Viovy, Nicolas
    Wiltshire, Andy
    Yousefpour, Rasoul
    Zaehle, Soenke
    Land-use and land-cover change carbon emissions between 1901 and 2012 constrained by biomass observations2017In: Biogeosciences, ISSN 1726-4170, E-ISSN 1726-4189, Vol. 14, no 22, p. 5053-5067Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The use of dynamic global vegetation models (DGVMs) to estimate CO2 emissions from land-use and land-cover change (LULCC) offers a new window to account for spatial and temporal details of emissions and for ecosystem processes affected by LULCC. One drawback of LULCC emissions from DGVMs, however, is lack of observation constraint. Here, we propose a new method of using satellite-and inventory-based biomass observations to constrain historical cumulative LULCC emissions (E-LUC(c)) from an ensemble of nine DGVMs based on emerging relationships between simulated vegetation biomass and E-LUC(c). This method is applicable on the global and regional scale. The original DGVM estimates of E-LUC(c) range from 94 to 273 PgC during 1901-2012. After constraining by current biomass observations, we derive a best estimate of 155 +/- 50 PgC (1 sigma Gaussian error). The constrained LULCC emissions are higher than prior DGVM values in tropical regions but significantly lower in North America. Our emergent constraint approach independently verifies the median model estimate by biomass observations, giving support to the use of this estimate in carbon budget assessments. The uncertainty in the constrained Ec LUC is still relatively large because of the uncertainty in the biomass observations, and thus reduced uncertainty in addition to increased accuracy in biomass observations in the future will help improve the constraint. This constraint method can also be applied to evaluate the impact of land-based mitigation activities.

  • 5. Santoro, Maurizio
    et al.
    Beaudoin, Andre
    Beer, Christian
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry.
    Cartus, Oliver
    Fransson, Johan B. S.
    Hall, Ronald J.
    Pathe, Carsten
    Schmullius, Christiane
    Schepaschenko, Dmitry
    Shvidenko, Anatoly
    Thurner, Martin
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry. Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Germany.
    Wegmueller, Urs
    Forest growing stock volume of the northern hemisphere: Spatially explicit estimates for 2010 derived from Envisat ASAR2015In: Remote Sensing of Environment, ISSN 0034-4257, E-ISSN 1879-0704, Vol. 168, p. 316-334Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper presents and assesses spatially explicit estimates of forest growing stock volume (GSV) of the northern hemisphere (north of 10 degrees N) from hyper-temporal observations of Envisat Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) backscattered intensity using the BIOMASAR algorithm. Approximately 70,000 ASAR images at a pixel size of 0.01 degrees were used to estimate GSV representative for the year 2010. The spatial distribution of the GSV across four ecological zones (polar, boreal, temperate, subtropical) was well captured by the ASAR-based estimates. The uncertainty of the retrieved GSV was smallest in boreal and temperate forest (<30% for approximately 80% of the forest area) and largest in subtropical forest. ASAR-derived GSV averages at the level of administrative units were mostly in agreement with inventory-derived estimates. Underestimation occurred in regions of very high GSV (>300 m(3)/ha) and fragmented forest landscapes. For the major forested countries within the study region, the relative RMSE between ASAR-derived GSV averages at provincial level and corresponding values from National Forest Inventory was between 12% and 45% (average: 29%).

  • 6.
    Thurner, Martin
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry. Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Germany.
    Beer, Christian
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry.
    Carvalhais, Nuno
    Forkel, Matthias
    Santoro, Maurizio
    Tum, Markus
    Schmullius, Christiane
    Large-scale variation in boreal and temperate forest carbon turnover rate related to climate2016In: Geophysical Research Letters, ISSN 0094-8276, E-ISSN 1944-8007, Vol. 43, no 9, p. 4576-4585Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Vegetation carbon turnover processes in forest ecosystems and their dominant drivers are far from being understood at a broader scale. Many of these turnover processes act on long timescales and include a lateral dimension and thus can hardly be investigated by plot-level studies alone. Making use of remote sensing-based products of net primary production (NPP) and biomass, here we show that spatial gradients of carbon turnover rate (k) in Northern Hemisphere boreal and temperate forests are explained by different climate-related processes depending on the ecosystem. k is related to frost damage effects and the trade-off between growth and frost adaptation in boreal forests, while drought stress and climate effects on insects and pathogens can explain an elevated k in temperate forests. By identifying relevant processes underlying broadscale patterns in k, we provide the basis for a detailed exploration of these mechanisms in field studies, and ultimately the improvement of their representations in global vegetation models (GVMs).

  • 7.
    Thurner, Martin
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry.
    Beer, Christian
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry.
    Ciais, Philippe
    Friend, Andrew D.
    Ito, Akihiko
    Kleidon, Axel
    Lomas, Mark R.
    Shaun, Quegan
    Rademacher, Tim T.
    Schaphoff, Sibyll
    Tum, Markus
    Wiltshire, Andy
    Carvalhais, Nuno
    Evaluation of climate-related carbon turnover processes in global vegetation models for boreal and temperate forests2017In: Global Change Biology, ISSN 1354-1013, E-ISSN 1365-2486, Vol. 23, no 8, p. 3076-3091Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Turnover concepts in state-of-the-art global vegetation models (GVMs) account for various processes, but are often highly simplified and may not include an adequate representation of the dominant processes that shape vegetation carbon turnover rates in real forest ecosystems at a large spatial scale. Here, we evaluate vegetation carbon turnover processes in GVMs participating in the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP, including HYBRID4, JeDi, JULES, LPJml, ORCHIDEE, SDGVM, and VISIT) using estimates of vegetation carbon turnover rate (k) derived from a combination of remote sensing based products of biomass and net primary production (NPP). We find that current model limitations lead to considerable biases in the simulated biomass and in k (severe underestimations by all models except JeDi and VISIT compared to observation-based average k), likely contributing to underestimation of positive feedbacks of the northern forest carbon balance to climate change caused by changes in forest mortality. A need for improved turnover concepts related to frost damage, drought, and insect outbreaks to better reproduce observation-based spatial patterns in k is identified. As direct frost damage effects on mortality are usually not accounted for in these GVMs, simulated relationships between k and winter length in boreal forests are not consistent between different regions and strongly biased compared to the observation-based relationships. Some models show a response of k to drought in temperate forests as a result of impacts of water availability on NPP, growth efficiency or carbon balance dependent mortality as well as soil or litter moisture effects on leaf turnover or fire. However, further direct drought effects such as carbon starvation (only in HYBRID4) or hydraulic failure are usually not taken into account by the investigated GVMs. While they are considered dominant large-scale mortality agents, mortality mechanisms related to insects and pathogens are not explicitly treated in these models.

  • 8.
    Thurner, Martin
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry.
    Beer, Christian
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry.
    Crowther, Thomas
    Falster, Daniel
    Manzoni, Stefano
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Prokushkin, Anatoly
    Schulze, Ernst-Detlef
    Sapwood biomass carbon in northern boreal and temperate forests2019In: Global Ecology and Biogeography, ISSN 1466-822X, E-ISSN 1466-8238, Vol. 28, no 5, p. 640-660Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Aim Information on the amount of carbon stored in the living tissue of tree stems (sapwood) is crucial for carbon and water cycle applications. Here, we aim to investigate sapwood-to-stem proportions and differences therein between tree genera and derive a sapwood biomass map. Location Northern Hemisphere boreal and temperate forests. Time period 2010. Major taxa studied Twenty-five common tree genera. Methods First, we develop a theoretical framework to estimate sapwood biomass for a given stem biomass by applying relationships between sapwood cross-sectional area (CSA) and stem CSA and between stem CSA and stem biomass. These measurements are extracted from a biomass and allometry database (BAAD), an extensive literature review and our own studies. The established allometric relationships are applied to a remote sensing-based stem biomass product in order to derive a spatially continuous sapwood biomass map. The application of new products on the distribution of stand density and tree genera facilitates the synergy of satellite and forest inventory data. Results Sapwood-to-stem CSA relationships can be modelled with moderate to very high modelling efficiency for different genera. The total estimated sapwood biomass equals 12.87 +/- 6.56 petagrams of carbon (PgC) in boreal (mean carbon density: 1.13 +/- 0.58 kgC m(-2)) and 15.80 +/- 9.10 PgC in temperate (2.03 +/- 1.17 kgC m(-2)) forests. Spatial patterns of sapwood-to-stem biomass proportions are crucially driven by the distribution of genera (spanning from 20-30% in Larix to > 70% in Pinus and Betula forests). Main conclusions The presented sapwood biomass map will be the basis for large-scale estimates of plant respiration and transpiration. The enormous spatial differences in sapwood biomass proportions reveal the need to consider the functionally more important sapwood instead of the entire stem biomass in global carbon and water cycle studies. Alterations in tree species distribution, induced by forest management or climate change, can strongly affect the available sapwood biomass even if stem biomass remains unchanged.

  • 9. Yang, Cheng-En
    et al.
    Mao, Jiafu
    Hoffman, Forrest M.
    Ricciuto, Daniel M.
    Fu, Joshua S.
    Jones, Chris D.
    Thurner, Martin
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry.
    Uncertainty Quantification of Extratropical Forest Biomass in CMIP5 Models over the Northern Hemisphere2018In: Scientific Reports, ISSN 2045-2322, E-ISSN 2045-2322, Vol. 8, article id 10962Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Simplified representations of processes influencing forest biomass in Earth system models (ESMs) contribute to large uncertainty in projections. We evaluate forest biomass from eight ESMs outputs archived in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) using the biomass data synthesized from radar remote sensing and ground-based observations across northern extratropical latitudes. ESMs exhibit large biases in the forest distribution, forest fraction, and mass of carbon pools that contribute to uncertainty in forest total biomass (biases range from -20 Pg C to 135 Pg C). Forest total biomass is primarily positively correlated with precipitation variations, with surface temperature becoming equally important at higher latitudes, in both simulations and observations. Relatively small differences in forest biomass between the pre-industrial period and the contemporary period indicate uncertainties in forest biomass were introduced in the pre-industrial model equilibration (spin-up), suggesting parametric or structural model differences are a larger source of uncertainty than differences in transient responses. Our findings emphasize the importance of improved (1) models of carbon allocation to biomass compartments, (2) distribution of vegetation types in models, and (3) reproduction of pre-industrial vegetation conditions, in order to reduce the uncertainty in forest biomass simulated by ESMs.

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