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This data set is a subset of a global database compiled by Matthews and Fung (1987) on the distribution and environmental characteristics of natural wetlands. The global database was developed to evaluate the role of wetlands in the annual emission of methane from terrestrial sources. The original data consisted of five global 1-degree latitude by 1-degree longitude arrays. This subset was created for the study area of the Large Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA) in South America (i.e., latitude 10° N to 25° S, longitude 30° to 85° W), and it retains all five arrays at the 1-degree resolution for the LBA study area. The arrays are (1) wetland data source, (2) wetland type, (3) fractional inundation, (4) vegetation type, and (5) soil type. The data are in ASCII GRID file format.

The original database was the result of the integration of three independent digital sources: (1) vegetation classified according to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) system (Matthews 1983), (2) soil properties from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) soil maps (Zobler 1986), and (3) fractional inundation in each 1-degree cell compiled from a global map survey of Operational Navigation Charts (ONC). With vegetation, soil, and inundation characteristics of each wetland site identified, the database has been used for a coherent and systematic estimate of methane emissions from wetlands and for an analysis of the causes for uncertainties in the emission estimate.

The complete global database is available from NASA/GISS ( and NCAR data set ds765.5 ( The data on global vegetation types (Matthews 1999) are available from ORNL DAAC (

Further information about the subset can be found at

LBA was a cooperative international research initiative led by Brazil. NASA was a lead sponsor for several experiments. LBA was designed to create the new knowledge needed to understand the climatological, ecological, biogeochemical, and hydrological functioning of Amazonia; the impact of land use change on these functions; and the interactions between Amazonia and the Earth system. More information about LBA can be found at

Data Citation:

Cite this data set as follows:

Matthews, E., and I. Fung. 2003. LBA Regional Wetlands Data Set, 1-Degree (Matthews and Fung). Data set. Available on-line [] from Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, U.S.A. doi:10.3334/ORNLDAAC/688.


Matthews, E. 1983. Global vegetation and land use: New high-resolution data bases for climate studies. Journal of Climatology and Applied Meteorology 22:474-487.

Matthews, E. 1989. Global Data Bases on Distribution, Characteristics and Methane Emission of Natural Wetlands: Documentation of Archived Data Tape. NASA TM-4153. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

Matthews, E. 1999. Global Vegetation Types, 1971-1982 (Matthews). Data set. Available on-line [] from Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, U.S.A.

Matthews, E., and I. Fung. 1987. Methane emissions from natural wetlands: Global distribution, area and environmental characteristics of sources. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 1:61-86.

Operational Navigation Charts Source/Platform Document. Available on-line [] from Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, U.S.A.

Zobler, L. 1986. A world soil file for global climate modeling. NASA Technical Memorandum 87802. Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Data Format:

Information about the ASCII GRID file format, monitoring stations, and the procedure used to create the LBA subset are in the following file:

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