The project aims to develop high resolution datasets on industrial forests over North America, a continent that provides more than 40% of global industrial roundwood production (FAO, 2010). Given the fact that planted forests account for less than 10% of the total forest area in both US and Canada, and the majority of the wood products in both countries are extracted from natural forests through industrial harvest or logging (Smith et al., 2009; FAO, 2010), industrial forests defined in this study will include both forest plantations and natural forests that experienced industrial logging and harvest, with the two forest types being mapped and analyzed in two separate categories. The specific objectives of this study include: 1. Develop a 30-year record of industrial forests as defined above for North America using dense time series Landsat observations. This record will consist of a suite of 30 m data products, including the spatial distribution of both plantation forests and natural forests that experienced industrial logging and harvest, the year and intensity of each harvest event, and the age of each forest patch calculated from the latest harvest. This record will also include an annual, 30-year record of vegetation continuous field (VCF) of tree cover at the 30 m resolution; 2. Quantify the amount of timber products extracted from the industrial forest areas as mapped through objective 1. Since timber volume can be converted to woody biomass directly, this variable will allow calculation of carbon sink in wood products. 3. Evaluate forest recovery following harvest, and analyze the underlying environmental and management factors that may drive different recovery patterns.
Figure: A subset of the national multi-temporal tree canopy cover dataset. Tree cover for years 1985, 2000, and 2013 are shown as RGB composite. Black areas represent permanent forest, white – permanent non-forest, green – forest established after 1985, blue – forest cleared and re-grown after 1985, red – forest cleared by 2013. Magenta represent areas of permanent tree cover clearing.