LIDAR-based Analysis of Mangrove Forest Structure and Carbon Stocks of The Republic of Palau.

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This study assesses mangrove structure and carbon stocks of the Republic of Palau, located in the Western Pacific Ocean, using existing in-situ data, aerial lidar, and RGB imagery. Palau is unique in that its coastal fringing mangrove forests have been expanding relatively uninterrupted since the end of the close of World War II. Palau faces new fiscal and development pressures while concurrently maintaining their role as a pioneer of new conservation models and a good steward of its environment. Palau’s mangroves generally don’t qualify for avoided conversion, afforestation, REDD+, or improved forest management carbon offsets as they are largely protected, healthy, and are not used as an extractive forest products resource base. However, as the nation’s mangroves have expanded, pressure has grown to reconsider mangrove clearing restrictions for fishing docks, resort shoreline access, and reclamation. There is not currently a robust and efficient means to annually assess mangrove expansion and spatially relate carbon density remotely, limiting an affordable means to conduct valuations of proposed development areas and associated cost-benefit analysis. This study evaluates existing in-situ data from a 2011 US Forest Service mangrove carbon stock analysis and explores techniques to assess carbon stocks remotely using scant field data. The primary in-situ data consists of biomass and carbon stocks data derived from fixed-radius plots of live mangrove trees, dead downed woody debris, and soil samples from the state of Airai, Palau. The existing in-situ data is evaluated against the nation’s first complete aerial LIDAR (Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging) point cloud and RGB imagery dataset which was acquired in 2021 by the Palau Automated Land and Resource Information System (PALARIS) office. This project aims to support national assessments of payments for ecosystem services, natural capital accounting, and carbon protocol monitoring.






Adema, David (2023). LIDAR-based Analysis of Mangrove Forest Structure and Carbon Stocks of The Republic of Palau. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

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