January 14

Contiguous U.S. Forest Cover National Biomass and Carbon Dataset, showing forest biomass of the Contiguous U.S..
Photo Credit: NASA Earth Observatory map by Robert Simmon, based on multiple data sets compiled and analyzed by the Woods Hole Research Center.

Image of the Day

Seeing the Forest and the Trees

This map shows the National Biomass and Carbon Dataset (NBCD), the a high-resolution map of forest biomass, that shows where trees -- and thus carbon -- are most prolific in the contiguous United States. Woods Hole Research Center scientists created the map by combining satellite images with U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Geological Survey data.

It's important because plants soak up and store carbon released through human activity and through natural processes. And trees store more carbon than do shorter plants and for a longer time. (We assume that a tree will live for hundreds of years, storing carbon in its trunk and branches, but grasses will not have nearly as long of a lifespan or storage length.) But, of course, a tree also take longer to grow than does a shrub. And scientists are still trying to study the impact that adding new trees to the environment may have in slowing down climate change.

Learn more about the map and the project over at NASA.Then come back here and check out these related Science NetLinks resources:

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