Thesis Progress at CES on 21 March 2018 at 10:30 am titled "Spatio-temporal dynamics of above-ground biomass for Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu, India" by Ankur Shringi from CES
Millennia of photosynthesis has resulted in substantial accumulation of carbon in terrestrial vegetation. This carbon sequestration is an ongoing process and forests sequester a major fraction of anthropogenic carbon emissions. However, due to vulnerability of these forests to ongoing climate change, they may sequester less carbon or may even become a carbon source. Among all forest types, tropical forests demonstrate greatest carbon accumulation rate per unit area; however there are high uncertainties in the estimates of their carbon stocks and fluxes. Understanding the the response of these forests to future climate warrants a detailed investigation.
For this thesis, I am studying spatial and temporal variations in biomass and its drivers in the tropical forests of the Western Ghats of India. The first chapter of the thesis aims to address methodological issues that affect estimates of above-ground biomass obtained using global biomass models. Specifically, I examine height-diameter allometric relationships of trees and their environmental correlates. In the second chapter, I investigate a relatively new technique of biomass estimation using texture analysis of high resolution satellite imagery. I used this technique to generate a spatial biomass map for Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu. Here, the map will be validated with data from permanent forest plots and a comparison will be made with traditional reflectance-based biomass estimation techniques, such as using normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). In the third chapter, I identify the key environmental factors driving variability of tree biomass for Mudumalai forest focusing on tree mortality and growth. In the fourth chapter, I attempt to apply all findings from previous chapters to project future biomass under different climate change scenarios
In this thesis progress presentation, I will present the progress made towards achieving each of my thesis objectives. I hope to receive feedback and suggestions to improve this study further.