Monitoring pinyon-juniper cover and aboveground biomass across the Great Basin

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Since the mid-1800s pinyon-juniper (PJ) woodlands have been encroaching into sagebrush-steppe shrublands and grasslands such that they now comprise 40% of the total forest and woodland area of the Intermountain West of the United States. More recently, PJ ecosystems in select areas have experienced dramatic reductions in area and biomass due to extreme drought, wildfire, and management. Due to the vast area of PJ ecosystems, tracking these changes in woodland tree cover is essential for understanding their consequences for carbon accounting efforts, as well as ecosystem structure and functioning. Here we present a carbon monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) system for characterizing total aboveground biomass stocks and flux of PJ ecosystems across the Great Basin.

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