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Bamboo Mapping in Amazonia

A research group at the National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA) in Brazil used CLASlite to investigate the spatial extent, life cycle length, and flowering patterns of bamboo in upland forests of the southwest Amazon.  The scientists ran CLASlite on Landsat and MODIS imagery to produce fractional cover maps that enabled them to spectrally distinguish between forests containing mature live bamboo, recently dead (post-flowering) bamboo, and no bamboo. 

 

 

Bamboo in Amazonia

Figure: Greenness indicators in the three forest types, determined through CLASlite’s spectral unmixing methodology

 

Using these data, the team mapped 161,500 km2 of bamboo-dominated forests in the region and determined a life-cycle length of 27-28 years in this forested area.  The life-stage maps that the team produced also illustrated that flowering events are not random amongst neighboring bamboo populations but, rather, occur in semi-synchronized temporal and spatial cascades.

 

Bamboo Mapped using CLASlite

Figure: Spatial-temporal clustering of flowering (and subsequent mortality) events

 

This new understanding of flowering patterns can inform predictions of where and when bamboo mortality will occur, which will have valuable forest management implications.

 

For more information, see Carvalho et al. (2013) on the CLASlite Community Publications page.