Luiz E. O. C. Aragão

Luiz E. O. C. Aragão
National Institute for Space Research, Brazil | inpe · Remote Sensing Division

PhD in Remote Sensing
Senior Scientist Head of Earth Observation and Geoinformatics Division National Institute for Space Research (INPE)

About

434
Publications
200,117
Reads
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24,511
Citations
Citations since 2016
285 Research Items
18430 Citations
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Introduction
I am the head of Earth Observation and Geoinformatics Division at INPE and the TREES lab (http://trees-research.weebly.com/). I have a PhD in Remote Sensing from INPE. I am a Senior Lecturer at the University of Exeter, UK and a full-time Scientist at the National Institute for Space Research (INPE). I have published over 200 scientific papers, including first authorship in the journals Nature and Science. My research focus on: carbon dynamics, environmental change, ecology and remote sensing.
Additional affiliations
September 2009 - present
University of Exeter
Position
  • Professor (Associate)

Publications

Publications (434)
Article
Full-text available
Tropical carbon emissions are largely derived from direct forest clearing processes. Yet, emissions from drought-induced forest fires are, usually, not included in national-level carbon emission inventories. Here we examine Brazilian Amazon drought impacts on fire incidence and associated forest fire carbon emissions over the period 2003–2015. We s...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding forest loss patterns in Amazonia, the Earth's largest rainforest region, is critical for effective forest conservation and management. Following the most detailed analysis to date, spanning the entire Amazon and extending over a 14-year period (2001-2014), we reveal significant shifts in deforestation dynamics of Amazonian forests. Fi...
Article
Full-text available
The discovery of large geometrical earthworks in interfluvial settings of southern Amazonia has challenged the idea that Pre-Columbian populations were concentrated along the major floodplains. However, a spatial gap in the archaeological record of the Amazon has limited the assessment of the territorial extent of earth-builders. Here, we report th...
Article
Full-text available
Our limited understanding of the climate controls on tropical forest seasonality is one of the biggest sources of uncertainty in modeling climate change impacts on terrestrial ecosys- tems. Combining leaf production, litterfall and climate observations from satellite and ground data in the Amazon forest, we show that seasonal variation in leaf prod...
Article
Full-text available
Amazonia is home to more than half of the world’s remaining tropical forests, playing a key role as reservoirs of carbon and biodiversity. However, whether at a slower or faster pace, continued deforestation causes forest fragmentation in this region. Thus, understanding the relationship between forest fragmentation and fire incidence and intensity...
Presentation
Full-text available
El glosario que se presenta en este libro aporta ajustes contextuales realizados por los autores, definiciones técnicas, legales y científicas de documentos y publicaciones nacionales de Perú, Brasil y Bolivia, así como documentos y publicaciones internacionales de la FAO y la Comunidad Andina sobre el manejo del fuego y, en general, sobre declarac...
Article
In the Amazon, deforestation and climate change lead to increased vulnerability to forest degradation, threatening its existing carbon stocks and its capacity as a carbon sink. We use satellite L‐Band Vegetation Optical Depth (L‐VOD) data that provide an integrated (top‐down) estimate of biomass carbon to track changes over 2011–2019. Because the s...
Article
Full-text available
The Global Stocktake (GST), implemented by the Paris Agreement, requires rapid developments in the capabilities to quantify annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and removals consistently from the global to the national scale and improvements to national GHG inventories. In particular, new capabilities are needed for accurate attribution of sources...
Article
Full-text available
Canopy gaps are openings in the forest canopy resulting from branch fall and tree mortality events. The geographical distribution of large canopy gaps may reflect underlying variation in mortality and growth processes. However, a lack of data at the appropriate scale has limited our ability to study this relationship until now. We detected canopy g...
Article
Full-text available
The detection of pre-Colombian geoglyphs, geometric structures outlined by trenches or walls, from airborne LiDAR data is usually made by visual observation of the variation in elevation and commonly using additional hillshading. Depending on the area covered by LiDAR to inspect and the variation in elevation, this method can be time consuming and...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Amazon Forest is a major locus for carbon and water cycling in the climate system whose function has been degraded in recent decades by land use and climate change. Most studies of Amazonia’s carbon balance have been limited by sparse sampling. We measured 742 atmospheric vertical profiles of CO2 and CO over four regions of Amazonia from 2010 t...
Article
Full-text available
The productivity of rainforests growing on highly weathered tropical soils is expected to be limited by phosphorus availability¹. Yet, controlled fertilization experiments have been unable to demonstrate a dominant role for phosphorus in controlling tropical forest net primary productivity. Recent syntheses have demonstrated that responses to nitro...
Preprint
Full-text available
The AnisoVeg product consists of monthly 1-km composites of anisotropy (ANI) and nadir-normalized (NAD) surface reflectance layers obtained from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor over the entire South America. The satellite data were pre-processed using the Multi-Angle Implementation Atmospheric Correction (MAIAC). Th...
Article
Full-text available
The aim was to evaluate fire activity for the entire Amazon and Amazon regions within each country/department from 2003 to 2020, assessing the potential contributions of drought and deforestation and contrasting 2020 with the previous years. Amazonia sensu lato. Annually from 2003 to 2020. Terrestrial plants. We collected time series of MODIS activ...
Article
Full-text available
Human activities pose a major threat to tropical forest biodiversity and ecosystem services. Although the impacts of deforestation are well studied, multiple land-use and land-cover transitions (LULCTs) occur in tropical landscapes, and we do not know how LULCTs differ in their rates or impacts on key ecosystem components. Here, we quantified the i...
Article
Full-text available
Our aim was to quantify the influence of climate and land use on major fires that occurred during the 2020 drought over the Brazilian Pantanal region. Alto Paraguay Basin, central‐western flank of Brazil. 2003–2020. We calculated climatic and burned area anomalies and Spearman's correlation between precipitation and sea surface temperature (SST). W...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract The Amazon region in Brazil contains c. 5% of the palm species of the world. However, palm cover at macroecological scales has not yet been quantified in this biome. Here, we used high spatial resolution LiDAR data, acquired from 610 flightlines over the Brazilian Amazon, to map canopy palm cover for the first time using a deep learning ap...
Article
Full-text available
MATOPIBA is an agricultural frontier, where fires are essential for its biodiversity maintenance. However, the increase in its recurrence and intensity, as well as accidental fires can lead to socioeconomic and environmental losses. Due to this dual relationship with fire, near real-time (NRT) fire management is required throughout the region. In t...
Article
Full-text available
Tropical forests provide essential environmental services to human well-being. In the world, Brazil has the largest continuous area of these forests. However, in the state of Maranhão, in the eastern Amazon, only 24% of the original forest cover remains. We integrated and analyzed active fires, burned area, land use and land cover, rainfall, and su...
Article
Full-text available
The spectral variability of tropical forests during the Amazonian dry season is not entirely understood because of the divergent responses in Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) vegetation indices (VIs) measured under-increased water deficit and high insolation. Here, we used a dataset composed of 493 cloud-free PlanetScope (PS) i...
Article
Full-text available
While Brazil publicly committed to reduce deforestation in Amazonia at the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26), the Brazilian parliament is moving toward weakening environmental laws. Deforestation rates continue ascending, reaching in 2021 the highest value since 2006 (13,235 km2). To overcome this paradox, strategies to curb deforestation are...
Article
Water availability is the major driver of tropical forest structure and dynamics. Most research has focused on the impacts of climatic water availability, whereas remarkably little is known about the influence of water table depth and excess soil water on forest processes. Nevertheless, given that plants take up water from the soil, the impacts of...
Article
Full-text available
The two major Brazilian biomes, the Amazonia and the Cerrado (savanna), are increasingly exposed to fires. The Amazonian Forest is a fire sensitive ecosystem where fires are a typically rare disturbance while the Cerrado is naturally fire-dependent. Human activities, such as landscape fragmentation and land-use management, have modified the fire re...
Article
Full-text available
Several large-scale drivers of both anthropogenic and natural environmental changes are interacting nonlinearly in the transition zone between eastern Amazonia and the adjacent Cerrado, considered to be another Brazilian agricultural frontier. Land-use change for agrobusiness expansion together with climate change in the transition zone between eas...
Article
Quantifying fuel load over large areas is essential to support integrated fire management initiatives in fire-prone regions to preserve carbon stock, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. It also allows a better understanding of global climate regulation as a potential carbon sink or source. Large area assessments usually require data from spaceb...
Article
Full-text available
Fire is one of the main anthropogenic drivers that threatens the Amazon. Despite the clear link between rainfall and fire, the spatial and temporal relationship between these variables is still poorly understood in the Amazon. Here, we stratified the Amazon basin according to the dry season onset/end and investigated its relationship with the spati...
Article
Full-text available
We report large-scale estimates of Amazonian gap dynamics using a novel approach with large datasets of airborne light detection and ranging (lidar), including five multi-temporal and 610 single-date lidar datasets. Specifically, we (1) compared the fixed height and relative height methods for gap delineation and established a relationship between...
Article
Full-text available
Atmospheric methane concentrations were nearly constant between 1999 and 2006, but have been rising since by an average of ~8 ppb per year. Increases in wetland emissions, the largest natural global methane source, may be partly responsible for this rise. The scarcity of in situ atmospheric methane observations in tropical regions may be one source...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Deforestation, the complete removal of an area’s forest cover; and forest degradation, the significant loss of forest structure, functions, and processes; are the result of the interaction between various direct drivers, often operating in tandem. By 2018, the Amazon biome had lost approximately 870,000 km2 of its original forest cover, mainly due...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter discusses the main drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in the Amazon, particularly agricultural expansion, road construction, mining, oil and gas development, forest fires, edge effects, logging, and hunting. It also examines these activities’ impacts and synergies between them.
Chapter
This Report provides a comprehensive, objective, open, transparent, systematic, and rigorous scientific assessment of the state of the Amazon’s ecosystems, current trends, and their implications for the long-term well-being of the region, as well as opportunities and policy relevant options for conservation and sustainable development.
Chapter
Full-text available
This Report provides a comprehensive, objective, open, transparent, systematic, and rigorous scientific assessment of the state of the Amazon’s ecosystems, current trends, and their implications for the long-term well-being of the region, as well as opportunities and policy relevant options for conservation and sustainable development.
Article
Full-text available
Timely spatially explicit warning of areas with high fire occurrence probability is an important component of strategic plans to prevent and monitor fires within South American (SA) Protected Areas (PAs). In this study, we present a five-level alert system, which combines both climatological and anthropogenic factors, the two main drivers of fires...
Article
Full-text available
With deforestation and associated fires ongoing at high rates, and amidst urgent need to preserve Amazonia, improving the understanding of biomass burning emissions drivers is essential. The use of orbital remote sensing data enables the estimate of both biomass burning emissions and deforestation. In this study, we have estimated emissions of part...
Article
Full-text available
Free-to-read at: https://rdcu.be/cw7ua; Portuguese and Spanish versions of this paper are provided at: https://github.com/celsohlsj/ngeo_correspondence
Article
Full-text available
Significance Amazonia is experiencing an increase in the frequency of extreme droughts and wildfires. However, the duration of their impacts on plant mortality and carbon stocks are poorly known, and it is unclear whether impacts are amplified in forests with a history of previous human disturbance. We show that plant mortality rates remain above b...
Preprint
Full-text available
Several large-scale drivers of both anthropogenic and natural environmental changes are interacting nonlinearly in the transition zone between eastern Amazonia and the adjacent Cerrado, considered to be the new Brazilian agricultural frontier. Land-use change for agrobusiness expansion together with climate change in the transition zone between eas...
Article
Full-text available
Amazonia hosts the Earth’s largest tropical forests and has been shown to be an important carbon sink over recent decades1,2,3. This carbon sink seems to be in decline, however, as a result of factors such as deforestation and climate change1,2,3. Here we investigate Amazonia’s carbon budget and the main drivers responsible for its change into a ca...
Article
Secondary forests (SFs) are one of the major carbons sinks in the Neotropics due to the rapid carbon assimilation in their above-ground biomass (AGB). However, the accurate contribution of SFs to the carbon cycle is a great challenge because of the uncertainty in AGB estimates. In this context, the main objective of this study is to explore full po...
Article
Full-text available
Brazil is currently the largest contributor of land use and land cover change (LULCC) carbon dioxide net emissions worldwide, representing 17%–29% of the global total. There is, however, a lack of agreement among different methodologies on the magnitude and trends in LULCC emissions and their geographic distribution. Here we perform an evaluation o...
Article
Tropical forests are the most diverse and productive ecosystems on Earth. While better understanding of these forests is critical for our collective future, until quite recently efforts to measure and monitor them have been largely disconnected. Networking is essential to discover the answers to questions that transcend borders and the horizons of...
Article
Full-text available
As the world’s largest tropical wetland (UNESCO 2020), the Brazilian Pantanal covers an area of 150,355 km2, approximately 62% of United Kingdom territory. In January 2020, 3,506 fires were detected in the region, an increase of 302% in relation to the 2012-2019 average for the same month (Fig. 1a). Fire occurrence continued with an accelerated pac...
Article
Since the late 1980s the Amazon rainforest has been affected by major forest fires every 3–5 years, mainly in the southwestern portion of the region. Besides the reduction of forest biomass and changes in structure and floristic composition, these forest fires favor the expansion of bamboo in forests in the southwestern Amazon. However, we know lit...
Article
Full-text available
The forests of Amazonia are among the most biodiverse plant communities on Earth. Given the immediate threats posed by climate and land-use change, an improved understanding of how this extraordinary biodiversity is spatially organized is urgently required to develop effective conservation strategies. Most Amazonian tree species are extremely rare...
Article
Full-text available
O objetivo foi abordar um mosaico de vegetação de savana (áreas marginais-MS e disjuntas-DS) no Cerrado Setentrional Brasileiro para investigar o papel desempenhado por fatores ambientais como determinantes da organização comunitária em escala espacial, a fim de compreender os padrões divergentes ao longo de uma gradiente ambiental. Analisamos pred...
Article
Full-text available
While the climate and human-induced forest degradation is increasing in the Amazon, fire impacts on forest dynamics remain understudied in the wetter regions of the basin, which are susceptible to large wildfires only during extreme droughts. To address this gap, we installed burned and unburned plots immediately after a wildfire in the northern Pu...
Article
Tropical forests are the most diverse and productive ecosystems on Earth. While better understanding of these forests is critical for our collective future, until quite recently efforts to measure and monitor them have been largely disconnected. Networking is essential to discover the answers to questions that transcend borders and the horizons of...
Article
Full-text available
Fine roots constitute a significant component of the net primary productivity (NPP) of forest ecosystems but are much less studied than above‐ground NPP. Comparisons across sites and regions are also hampered by inconsistent methodologies, especially in tropical areas. Here, we present a novel dataset of fine root biomass, productivity, residence t...
Preprint
Full-text available
Canopy gaps are openings in the forest canopy resulting from branch fall and tree mortality events. Light reaches the lower layers of the canopy through these gaps, enabling understory trees to grow and maintaining the high heterogeneity and biodiversity of tropical forests. The size-frequency distribution of canopy gaps follows a power-law distrib...
Article
Fire is one of the most powerful modifiers of the Amazonian landscape and knowledge about its drivers is needed for planning control and suppression. A plethora of factors may play a role in the annual dynamics of fire frequency, spanning the biophysical, climatic, socioeconomic and institutional dimensions. To uncover the main forces currently at...
Article
Full-text available
The ongoing deforestation process in Amazonia has led to intensified forest fires in the region, particularly in Brazil, after more than a decade of effective forest conservation policy. This study aims to investigate the recovery of two mature sub‐montane ombrophile Amazonian forests affected by fire in terms of energy, water and carbon fluxes uti...
Article
Tropical forests are the most diverse and productive ecosystems on Earth. While better understanding of these forests is critical for our collective future, until quite recently efforts to measure and monitor them have been largely disconnected. Networking is essential to discover the answers to questions that transcend borders and the horizons of...