Earth  ID: 4576

El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico Canopy Change Up Close (2017-2018)

In September 2017, Hurricane Maria's lashing rain and winds also transformed Puerto Rico's lush tropical rainforest landscape. Research scientist Doug Morton of Goddard was part of the team of NASA researchers who had surveyed Puerto Rico's forests six months before the storm. The team used Goddard’s Lidar, Hyperspectral, and Thermal (G-LiHT) Airborne Imager, a system designed to study the structure and species composition of forests. Shooting 600,000 laser pulses per second, G-LiHT produces a 3D view of the forest structure in high resolution, showing individual trees in high detail from the ground to treetop. In April 2018 (post-Maria) the team went back and surveyed the same tracks as in 2017 (before Maria).

The extensive damage to Puerto Rico's forests had far-reaching effects, Morton said. Fallen trees that no longer stabilize soil on slopes with their roots as well as downed branches can contribute to landslides and debris flows, increased erosion, and poor water quality in streams and rivers where sediments build up.

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Visualization Credits

Alex Kekesi (GST): Lead Data Visualizer
Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC): Data Visualizer
Horace Mitchell (NASA/GSFC): Data Visualizer
Cindy Starr (GST): Data Visualizer
Matthew R. Radcliff (USRA): Lead Producer
Ellen T. Gray (ADNET): Lead Writer
Doug C. Morton (NASA/GSFC): Lead Scientist
Hyeungu Choi (GST): Data Provider
Laurence Schuler (ADNET): Technical Support
Ian Jones (ADNET): Technical Support
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

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Data Used:
Airplane/G-LiHT/LiDAR 3D point cloud 2017-2018
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

This item is part of this series:

SVS >> Lidar
SVS >> Tree height
GCMD >> Location >> Puerto Rico
SVS >> Hyperwall
NASA Science >> Earth
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Spectral/engineering >> Lidar >> Lidar Depolarization Ratio

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version