lay the foundation for better self-reported inventories. Global maps of land-use and land cover change could be produced by the U.S. Geological Survey, which has been disseminating land remote sensing imagery and creating Landsat data products for several decades, and/or by NASA or university scientists.

  1. Increase the availability of moderate- and high-resolution satellite observations for mapping land cover change. This means that a successor to the LDCM should be added to the mission queue of NASA or another federal agency within the next year. The 30 m resolution of the Landsat instrument will have to be supplemented with 1 m imagery in a statistical sub-sampling of locations to detect and measure selective logging and to improve estimates of tree density. The high-resolution data could be obtained either by adding another instrument to the Landsat platform or by acquiring commercial or national data (with the proviso that they be made freely available). The current plan to launch a single LDCM carries with it considerable risk. If the launch fails, it would be virtually impossible for the United States to monitor land-use change using public domain information and may significantly undermine the REDD component of a future global climate treaty by limiting the capability of tropical countries to produce realistic national inventories. The implementation issues associated with maintaining a U.S. capability for collecting moderate-resolution land imaging data are discussed in FLIIWG (2007).

  2. An interagency group, with broad participation from the research community, should undertake a comprehensive review of existing information and design a research program to improve and, where appropriate, implement U.S. estimates of AFOLU emissions of CO2, N2O, and CH4. Key elements are likely to include continued research on the biogeochemical cycles of these gases, supported by observations from eddy covariance towers, other flux measurements for N2O and CH4, and ecosystem inventories of all of the major carbon pools and their trends in the United States. These observation systems will be necessary in a modeling framework (e.g., ecosystem biogeochemistry process modeling) to provide the accuracy needed for annual, spatially explicit assessments within countries.

For recommendation 3, a realistic goal is to deploy the observing systems within 5 years, which would return data needed to reduce uncertainties in AFOLU CO2 fluxes in the United States to less than 10 percent within the following 5 years. The improved estimates could be used to provide early warning of changes in the carbon cycle that could inform the design of a climate treaty, to facilitate improvements in models of the carbon cycle, to provide data necessary to improve atmospheric methods for estimating emissions (see Chapter 4), and to demonstrate new inventory methods that could become part of the UNFCCC reporting process.

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