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Terrestrial laser scanning to estimate plot-level forest canopy fuel properties

Garcia, M, Danson, FM, Riano, D, Chuvieco, E, Ramirez Cardozo, FA and Bandugula, V 2011, 'Terrestrial laser scanning to estimate plot-level forest canopy fuel properties' , International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 13 (4) , pp. 636-645.

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    Abstract

    This paper evaluates the potential of a terrestrial laser scanner (TLS) to characterize forest canopy fuel characteristics at plot level. Several canopy properties, namely canopy height, canopy cover, canopy base height and fuel strata gap were estimated. Different approaches were tested to avoid the effect of canopy shadowing on canopy height estimation caused by deployment of the TLS below the canopy. Estimation of canopy height using a grid approach provided a coefficient of determination of R2 = 0.81 and an RMSE of 2.47 m. A similar RMSE was obtained using the 99th percentile of the height distribution of the highest points, representing the 1% of the data, although the coefficient of determination was lower (R2 = 0.70). Canopy cover (CC) was estimated as a function of the occupied cells of a grid superimposed upon the TLS point clouds. It was found that CC estimates were dependent on the cell size selected, with 3 cm being the optimum resolution for this study. The effect of the zenith view angle on CC estimates was also analyzed. A simple method was developed to estimate canopy base height from the vegetation vertical profiles derived from an occupied/non-occupied voxels approach. Canopy base height was estimated with an RMSE of 3.09 m and an R2 = 0.86. Terrestrial laser scanning also provides a unique opportunity to estimate the fuel strata gap (FSG), which has not been previously derived from remotely sensed data. The FSG was also derived from the vegetation vertical profile with an RMSE of 1.53 m and an R2 = 0.87.

    Item Type: Article
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Terrestrial LiDAR, canopy fuels, fuel strata gap, canopy base height, canopy height, canopy cover
    Themes: Energy
    Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology
    Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of Environment and Life Sciences
    Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
    Journal or Publication Title: International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
    Publisher: Elsevier
    Refereed: Yes
    ISSN: 0303-2434
    Depositing User: FM Danson
    Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2011 10:57
    Last Modified: 03 Jul 2014 12:17
    URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/16813

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