A scanning lidar, a relatively new type of sensor which explicitly measures canopy height, was used to measure structure of conifer forests in the Pacific Northwest. SLICER (Scanning Lidar Imager of Canopies by Echo Recovery), an airborne pulsed laser developed by NASA which scans a swath of five 10-m diameter footprints along the aircraft’s flightpath, captures the power of the reflected laser pulse as a function of height from the top of the canopy to the ground. Ground measurements of forest stand structure were collected on 26 plots with coincident SLICER data. Height, basal area, total biomass, and leaf biomass as estimated from field data could be predicted from SLICER-derived metrics with r 2 values of 0.95, 0.96, 0.96, and 0.84, respectively. These relationships were strong up to a height of 52 m, basal area of 132 m 2 /ha and total biomass of 1300 Mg/ha. In light of these strong relationships, large-footprint, airborne scanning lidar shows promise for characterizing stand structure for management and research purposes.
Remote Sensing of Environment – Elsevier
Published: Mar 1, 1999
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