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First evidence of peat domes in the congo basin using LiDAR from a fixed-wing drone

Davenport, IJ; McNicol, I; Mitchard, ET; Dargie, G; Suspense, I; Milongo, B; Bocko, YE; ... Lewis, SL; + view all (2020) First evidence of peat domes in the congo basin using LiDAR from a fixed-wing drone. Remote Sensing , 12 (14) , Article 2196. 10.3390/rs12142196. Green open access

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Abstract

The world's most extensive tropical peatlands occur in the Cuvette Centrale depression in the Congo Basin, which stores 30.6 petagrams of carbon (95% CI, 6.3-46.8). Improving our understanding of the genesis, development and functioning of these under-studied peatlands requires knowledge of their topography and, in particular, whether the peat surface is domed, as this implies a rain-fed system. Here we use a laser altimeter mounted on an unmanned airborne vehicle (UAV) to measure peat surface elevation along two transects at the edges of a peatland, in the northern Republic of Congo, to centimetre accuracy and compare the results with an analysis of nearby satellite LiDAR data (ICESat and ICESat-2). The LiDAR elevations on both transects show an upward slope from the peatland edge, suggesting a surface elevation peak of around 1.8 m over ~20 km. While modest, this domed shape is consistent with the peatland being rainfed. In-situ peat depth measurements and our LiDAR results indicate that this peatland likely formed at least 10,000 years BP in a large shallow basin ~40 km wide and ~3 m deep.

Type: Article
Title: First evidence of peat domes in the congo basin using LiDAR from a fixed-wing drone
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3390/rs12142196
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/rs12142196
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: peat; LiDAR; dome; carbon; ICESat; ICESat-2; swamp
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10107668
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