Trees outside forests are an underestimated resource in a country with low forest cover

Nathan Thomas, Priscilla Baltezar, David Lagomasino, Atticus Stovall, Zaheer Iqbal, Lola Fatoyinbo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Trees outside forests (TOF) are an underrepresented resource in forest poor nations. As a result of their frequent omission from national forest resource assessments and a lack of readily available very-high-resolution remotely sensed imagery, TOF status and characterization has until now, been unknown. Here, we assess the capacity of openly available 10 m ESA Sentinel constellation satellite imagery for mapping TOF extent at the national level in Bangladesh. In addition, we estimate canopy height for TOF using a TanDEM-X DEM. We map 2,233,578 ha of TOF in Bangladesh with a mean canopy height of 7.3 m. We map 31 and 53% more TOF than existing estimates of TOF and forest, respectively. We find TOF in Bangladesh is nationally fragmented as a consequence of agricultural activity, yet is capable of maintaining connectedness between remaining stands. Now, TOF accounting is feasible at the national scale using readily available datasets, enabling the mainstream inclusion of TOF in national forest resource assessments for other countries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7919
Pages (from-to)7919
Number of pages1
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2021


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