Assessing the Accuracy of GEDI Data for Canopy Height and Aboveground Biomass Estimates in Mediterranean Forests

Dorado-Roda, I.; Pascual, A.; Godinho, S.; Silva, C.A.; Botequim, B.; Rodríguez-Gonzálvez, P.; González-Ferreiro, E.; Guerra-Hernández, J. Assessing the Accuracy of GEDI Data for Canopy Height and Aboveground Biomass Estimates in Mediterranean Forests. Remote Sens. 202113, 2279.


Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) satellite mission is expanding the spatial bounds and temporal resolution of large-scale mapping applications. Integrating th e recent GEDI data into Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS)-derived estimations represents a global opportunity to update and extend forest models based on area based approaches (ABA) considering temporal and spatial dynamics. This study evaluates the effect of combining ALS-based aboveground biomass (AGB) estimates with GEDI-derived models by using temporally coincident datasets. A gradient of forest ecosystems, distributed through 21,766 km2 in the province of Badajoz (Spain), with different species and structural complexity, was used to: (i) assess the accuracy of GEDI canopy height in five Mediterranean Ecosystems and (ii) develop GEDI-based AGB models when using ALS-derived AGB estimates at GEDI footprint level. In terms of Pearson’s correlation (r) and rRMSE, the agreement between ALS and GEDI statistics on canopy height was stronger in the denser and homogeneousconiferous forest of P. pinaster and P. pinea than in sparse Quercus-dominated forests. The GEDI-derived AGB models using relative height and vertical canopy metrics yielded a model efficiency (Mef) ranging from 0.31 to 0.46, with a RMSE ranging from 14.13 to 32.16 Mg/ha and rRMSE from 38.17 to 84.74%, at GEDI footprint level by forest type. The impact of forest structure confirmed previous studies achievements, since GEDI data showed higher uncertainty in highly multilayered forests. In general, GEDI-derived models (GEDI-like Level4A) underestimated AGB over lower and higher ALS-derived AGB intervals. The proposed models could also be used to monitor biomass stocks at large-scale by using GEDI footprint level in Mediterranean areas, especially in remote and hard-to-reach areas for forest inventory. The findings from this study serve to provide an initial evaluation of GEDI data for estimating AGB in Mediterranean forest. Read the full article.