2. The service (2013)

contact: markus.tum(-at-)dlr.de


The main aim of the B1 Product and service “Mapping biomass potentials” is to develop a new method to calculate annual above ground biomass potentials (biomass increase) based on the combined used of remote sensing based information, meteorological time series and environmental modeling. It is expected to help the regular assessment of forest biomass with this time and cost efficient method. It is furthermore expected to support a sustainable, economic and ecological development of a region in respect to timber and energy production.

The Biosphere Energy Transfer Hydrology model, operated at the German Aerospace Center (BETHY/DLR) is used to assess the biomass increase. For this the main output of BETHY/DLR, daily time series of Gross Primary Productivity (GPP), is converted to NPP by subtracting the cumulative plant maintenance and growth respiration. The spatial resolution follows the resolution and projection of the land cover classification. Here, the GLC2000 with a 1 km² resolution, in a latitude-longitude projection with WGS84 (World Geodetic System 1984) datum, is used. NPP is then transferred to above ground biomass increase (AGBi) by applying conversion factors of the relation between above to below ground biomass, and the carbon and water content of biomass.

Additional to the AGBi product further branches were tested and are available. These comprise among others time series (up to daily) of:

  • Net Primary Productivity
  • Gross primary Productivity
  • Evapotranspiration
  • Sustainable Energy potentials

1. Product description

In a first step the user needs to specify the area of interest, the time span of interest, and the parameter of interest. For the time span the service is currently limited to the period of 1999 to today. This is due to data availability. Since BETHY/DLR is capable to simulate many more parameters than AGBi it needs to be discussed which parameter would be most suitable for the user. A short overview of the model framework of BETHY/DLR is presented in figure 1.

Fig. 1: Scheme of BETHY/DLR. Left: input data, Middle: Processes, Right: Results

After defining period, area and parameter a model run with BETHY/DLR is performed and the parameter is derived. Depending on the user needs of the product is delivered in e.g. Geotiff or NetCDF format as daily time series or monthly or annual sums. A product example of AGBi for the forest of Brandenburg is presented in figure 2. It shows an average increase of woody biomass for the period 2000 – 2012 and deviations from this value for 2010 – 2012.

fig. 2: Average increase of woody biomass for 2000-2012 for Brandenburgs (Germany) forests and deviations from this average for 2010 – 2012

2. Product specifications

Product properties


Possible parameters are:

  • Net Primary Productivity
  • Gross Primary Productivity
  • Evapotranspiration
  • Above ground biomass increase
  • Sustainable energy potentials


The absolute accuracy depends on the vegetation form and the parameter which is demanded. NPP estimates have an accuracy of up to 86%

Space resolution

1km x 1km


Time resolution

Up to daily. Depends on user demand

Time series coverage

1999 – current

Data format

GeoTiff and/or NetCDF maps

Data availability

The data will be available via ftp transfer

Ancillary information

Land cover information based on MERIS-FRS (GLOBCOVER)

Delivery time

Depends on the requested area and period of interest. Usually 1-4 weeks after request.



3. Service description and specifications

The products described in the previous sections will be produced in the frame of the ENDORSE

project by DLR-DFD on user request. The user can define:

  1. Region of interest (ROI),
  2. Period of interest,
  3. Parameter of interest
  4. Product format.

Based on the user specifications all needed input data for BETHY/DLR will be collected, to run the model. GPP and NPP are calculated and the parameter of interest is derived using a standardized process chain as presented in figure 3. When the processing has finished, quality control is started including visual inspection of the products.

Fig. 3:  Standardized processing scheme B1 product. As example: AGBi

4. Dissemination

Biomass: Markus Tum and his collaborators from IIASA launched the Net Primary Productivity (NPP) Geo Wiki (http://npp.geo-wiki.org/) and placed data which is produced / used in frame of the ENDORSE project (service B1). You can visualize by yourself these results by register on the wiki (screenshot in Fig. 4).

Fig. 4: screenshot of the Geo wiki with an example of biomass layer.