Matthew S. Colgan

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Terrestrial carbon stock mapping is important for the successful implementation of climate change mitigation policies. Its accuracy depends on the availability of reliable allometric models to infer oven-dry aboveground biomass of trees from census data. The degree of uncertainty associated with previously published pantropical aboveground biomass(More)
African savannas are undergoing management intensification, and decision makers are increasingly challenged to balance the needs of large herbivore populations with the maintenance of vegetation and ecosystem diversity. Ensuring the sustainability of Africa's natural protected areas requires information on the efficacy of management decisions at large(More)
BACKGROUND Accurate, high-resolution mapping of aboveground carbon density (ACD, Mg C ha-1) could provide insight into human and environmental controls over ecosystem state and functioning, and could support conservation and climate policy development. However, mapping ACD has proven challenging, particularly in spatially complex regions harboring a mosaic(More)
Mapping the spatial distribution of plant species in savannas provides insight into the roles of competition, fire, herbivory, soils and climate in maintaining the biodiversity of these ecosystems. This study focuses on the challenges facing large-scale species mapping using a fusion of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and hyperspectral imagery. Here we(More)
Tree biomass is an integrated measure of net growth and is critical for understanding, monitoring, and modeling ecosystem functions. Despite the importance of accurately measuring tree biomass, several fundamental barriers preclude direct measurement at large spatial scales, including the facts that trees must be felled to be weighed and that even modestly(More)
Information on landscape-scale patterns in species distributions and community types is vital for ecological science and effective conservation assessment and planning. However, detailed maps of plant community structure at landscape scales seldom exist due to the inability of field-based inventories to map a sufficient number of individuals over large(More)
Mapping species through classification of imaging spectroscopy data is facilitating research to understand tree species distributions at increasingly greater spatial scales. Classification requires a dataset of field observations matched to the image, which will often reflect natural species distributions, resulting in an imbalanced dataset with many(More)
Biomass density is a key metric of vegetation abundance, but understanding how community assembly processes, such as environmental filtering and competitive exclusion, affect biomass distributions of coexisting species has proven logistically challenging. Here we apply airborne remote sensing to study the ecosystem-scale distribution of species-specific,(More)
Variation in tree biomass among African savanna species of equal size is driven by a wide inter-specific variation in wood specific gravity. Tree form and taper is a fundamental component of tree structure and has been used for over a century in forestry to estimate timber yields and in ecological theories of scaling laws. Here, we investigate variation in(More)
Approximately 54% of rural households in South Africa continue to use wood as their main source of energy, mainly for cooking and heating. The provision of biomass by savanna woodlands is thus of considerable value to rural households and therefore the sustainable management of this ecosystem service is essential to energy security and poverty alleviation.(More)