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Stem Diameter Estimation from Aerial Photographs

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Abstract:

Remote sensing techniques have proven successful for producing stem maps of forests in leaf-on condition from high-resolution imagery. This paper demonstrates how a mathematical model for the surface of a stem can be used to estimate the breast-height diameter of individual trees from aerial photographs to give information on basal area. The diameters are estimated by likelihood estimation from images of a forest in leaf-off condition where the stems and their shadows are visible. Applied to a homogeneous and monospecific oak (Quercus robur L.) stand under standard silvicultural treatment in Denmark, the estimation was successful for 56 out of 60 trees. The root mean squared error on the diameter was 4.2 and 3.2 cm using three and five images, respectively. The key conclusion is that it is feasible to infer fairly accurate information about the diameters and three-dimensional positions of stems from aerial photographs.

Keywords: 3D; DENMARK; DIGITAL IMAGE ANALYSIS; LIKELIHOOD INFERENCE; OAK; PHOTOGRAMMETRY; QUERCUS ROBUR L; REMOTE SENSING; STEM DIAMETER; STEM POSITION; STEM SIZE; THREE-DIMENSIONAL

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02827580260138116

Publication date: August 1, 2002

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