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Using Airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) to Characterize Forest Stand Condition on the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska

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Airborne laser scanning (also known as light detection and ranging or LIDAR) data were used to estimate three fundamental forest stand condition classes (forest stand size, land cover type, and canopy closure) at 32 Forest Inventory Analysis (FIA) plots distributed over the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska. Individual tree crown segment attributes (height, area, and species type) were derived from the three-dimensional LIDAR point cloud, LIDAR-based canopy height models, and LIDAR return intensity information. The LIDAR-based crown segment and canopy cover information was then used to estimate condition classes at each 10-m grid cell on a 300 × 300-m area surrounding each FIA plot. A quantitative comparison of the LIDAR- and field-based condition classifications at the subplot centers indicates that LIDAR has potential as a useful sampling tool in an operational forest inventory program.

Keywords: airborne laser scanning; forest classification; lidar

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-04-01

More about this publication?
  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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