Mapping ecosystem structure is important for understanding many elements of the Earth system, including carbon and nutrient cycling, habitat quality and biodiversity, forest health and productivity, hydrologic cycling and effects of natural and human caused disturbances.

GEDI quantifies the amount of carbon stored in Earth’s vegetation and estimates carbon fluxes resulting from land use and climate change. Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is the most important driver of climate change. Growing vegetation absorbs carbon dioxide and clearing or disturbing vegetation emits it to the atmosphere. Half of vegetation biomass is comprised of carbon. Quantifying vegetation biomass therefore enables us to quantify the amount of carbon stored by vegetation. We can use this information to calculate the carbon sequestration potential of forests under future climate and land use scenarios.


An important objective of the GEDI mission is related to another function of vegetation – providing space for other organisms to live. With the vertical information on vegetation structure that GEDI provides, we can characterize habitat quality for large numbers of organisms. In this way, GEDI not only answers questions about vegetation carbon but contributes to the conservation of biodiversity by improving characterization of habitat quality.


GEDI data can be used to support intergovernmental policy initiatives such as REDD+ and the Convention on Biological Diversity as well as efforts of civil society groups to inform strategies for climate mitigation, sustainable land use, and biodiversity conservation.


Simple Share Buttons