Field of Science

Worldwide tree-heights map

Michael Lefsky of the Colorado State University has presented the first worldwide map of tree-heights. For this map the data collected by the satellites "ICESat", "Terra" and "Aqua" were combined. ICESat can measure directly the height with his incorporated LIDAR-instruments; these data were then completed with images obtained by "Terra" and "Aqua".

Fig.1. The tree heights map, blue show high trees, red low trees.

According to the map the highest trees can found on the pacific coast of California, with the species Sequoia sempervirens reaching in average a height of 40 to 70m, the forests with the most big trees are located in South-East Asia.

Fig.2. Sequoia sempervirens in the Muir Woods National Monument, California.

Regions in arctic zones, tundra and taiga and areas strongly influenced by humans have on average smaller trees, in the last case a consequence of the centenary logging and clearing of forests.

Online Ressources:

VOILAND, A. (20-07.2010): First-of-its-Kind Map Depicts Global Forest Heights. NASA's Earth Science News Team. Accessed 23.07.2010

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