Skip to main content

Detailed Stem Measurements of Standing Trees from Ground-Based Scanning Lidar

Buy Article:

$29.50 plus tax (Refund Policy)


A commercially available pan-and-tilt mount laser scanner was used to acquire data for subsequent three-dimensional modeling and measurement of standing forest trees. Methods were developed for identifying trees in range images and co-registering range images acquired from different vantage points. Upper-stem diameters and branch heights derived from the range images were compared to measurements made after the felling of a small number of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) trees. Tree identification assumed bole cross-sections were circular, estimating their geometric centers at successive heights up the stem. Tree center estimates at multiple heights were then used to co-register images made from different vantage points. Co-registration (x, y) errors did not exceed 2.1 cm in any of the 18 pairwise registrations carried out. Results showed excellent agreement (average error < 1 cm) between the lidar-derived diameter estimates and caliper measurements for bole sections below the base of live crown. Less accurate estimates (<2 cm) were obtained for stem heights up to 13 m. Results indicated the potential for accurate assessment of branch or whorl heights using ground-based scanning lidar, with the greatest accuracy likely to be realized for branches near the base of the live crown and below it.

Keywords: 3D imaging; Terrestrial laser scanner; close-range remote sensing; registration; segmentation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Philip J. Radtke, Department of Forestry, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061—Phone: 540-231-8863;, Fax: 540-231-3698, Email:

Publication date: 2006-01-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
  • Submit a Paper
  • Membership Information
  • Author Guidelines
  • Podcasts
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more