Canopy structural and meteorological influences on CO2 exchange for MODIS product validation in a boreal jack pine chronosequence
Chasmer, Laura Elizabeth
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Previously disturbed and regenerating forests make up a significant proportion of the North American land area, and therefore play an important role in the exchanges of heat and trace gases between the terrestrial biosphere and the atmosphere. Assessment of local to global variability in CO2 exchanges by forests requires a combination of CO2 measurements made by eddy covariance (EC), field measurements, remote sensing data, and ecosystem models. The integration of these is problematic because of a mis-match in scale between measurement techniques. Despite the importance of regenerating forests on the global carbon balance, the processes affecting the carbon cycle within these forests is not well understood. Airborne scanning light detection and ranging (lidar) instruments provide new opportunities to examine three-dimensional forest characteristics from the level of individual trees to ecosystems and beyond. Lidar is therefore an effective link between plot measurements, eddy covariance, and low resolution remote sensing pixels. This thesis dissertation presents new science on the use of airborne lidar for evaluating remote sensing products within heterogeneous and previously clearcut ecosystems. The goals of this thesis were to first understand the processes affecting CO2 exchanges within a previously disturbed boreal jack pine chronosequence located in Saskatchewan, Canada and then to apply this understanding to evaluate low resolution remote sensing data products from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) using airborne lidar. The first objective of this dissertation examined the factors that control light use efficiency (LUE) within the jack pine chronosequence during dry and wet years. The second objective examined the importance of vegetation structure and ground surface elevation on CO2 fluxes within a mature jack pine forest. The third objective developed and tested a simple model of lidar fractional cover and related this to the fraction of photosynthetically active radiation absorbed by the canopy (fPAR). This was then used to evaluate the MODIS fPAR product across the lower part of a watershed. Finally, the fourth objective was to model gross primary production (GPP) from airborne lidar. Lidar estimates of GPP were then compared with those from the EC system at the jack pine chronosequence and with the MODIS GPP (Collection 5) product.