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Practical large-scale forest stand inventory using a small-footprint airborne scanning laser

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Mean tree height, dominant height, mean diameter, stem number, basal area and timber volume of 116 georeferenced field sample plots were estimated from various canopy height and canopy density metrics derived by means of a small-footprint laser scanner over young and mature forest stands using regression analysis. The sample plots were distributed systematically throughout a 6500 ha study area, and the size of each plot was 232.9 m 2 . Regressions for coniferous forest explained 60-97% of the variability in ground reference values of the six studied characteristics. A proposed practical two-phase procedure for prediction of corresponding characteristics of entire forest stands was tested. Fifty-seven test plots within the study area with a size of approximately 3740 m 2 each were divided into 232.9 m 2 regular grid cells. The six examined characteristics were predicted for each grid cell from the corresponding laser data using the estimated regression equations. Average values for each test plot were computed and compared with ground-based estimates measured over the entire plot. The bias and standard deviations of the differences between predicted and ground reference values (in parentheses) of mean height, dominant height, mean diameter, stem number, basal area and volume were −0.58 to −0.85 m (0.64-1.01 m), −0.60 to −0.99 m (0.67-0.84 m), 0.15-0.74 cm (1.33-2.42 cm), 34-108 ha −1 (97-466 ha −1 ), 0.43-2.51 m 2 ha −1 (1.83-3.94 m 2 ha −1 ) and 5.9-16.1 m 3 ha −1 (15.1-35.1 m 3 ha −1 ), respectively.
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Keywords: Canopy height; forest inventory; laser scanning; timber volume

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-04-01

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