About this dataset
Have you ever flown in a plane over a forest, or seen a picture of a forest canopy taken from above? If so, you probably noticed the forest canopy was colored shades of dark green. The trees' and plants' leaves give the forest its lush green appearance. The more leaves there are in a forested area, the greener the tree canopy. Have you ever wondered how many leaves there are in a forest? Today, scientists use NASA satellites to map leaf area index — images processed to show how much of an area is covered by leaves. For example, a leaf area index of one means the area is entirely covered by one layer of leaves. Knowing the total area covered by leaves helps scientists monitor how much water, carbon, and energy the trees and plants are exchanging with the air above and the ground below.
What do the colors mean?
The colors in this palette range from tan, showing little or no leaf cover, to light green, indicating the area is entirely covered by one layer of leaves, to dark green showing thick forest canopies, where seven or more layers of leaves cover an area. Black means no data.
ATBD (Algorithm Theoretical Basis Document)
These NASA images were made by Reto Stockli, NASA's Earth Observatory Team, using data provided by the MODIS Land Science Team.
Federal Geographic Data Committee Geospatial Metadata
View the FGDC Metatdata for Leaf Area Index (1 month - Terra/MODIS)