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Weibull and percentile models for lidar-based estimation of basal area distribution

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The aim of this study was to assess the accuracy of basal area distributions of sample plots in coniferous forest derived from small-footprint airborne laser scanner data, and to compare the accuracy of two methods for derivation of such distributions based on: (1) two percentiles of a two-parameter Weibull and parameter recovery, and (2) a system of 10 percentiles defined across the range of observed diameters. The 12 percentiles were derived from the empirical basal area distributions of 141 plots with size 300–400 m 2 . Regression analysis was used to relate the percentiles to various canopy height and canopy density metrics derived from the laser data. On average, the distance between transmitted laser pulses was 0.9 m on the ground. The plots were divided into three strata according to age class and site quality. The stratum-specific regressions explained 7–91% of the variability. Total plot volume predicted from the estimated distributions was used to assess the accuracy of the regressions. Cross-validation of the regressions revealed a bias of -1.2 to 2.1% between predicted and ground-truth values of plot volume. The standard deviations of the differences between predicted and ground-truth values of plot volume were 15.1–16.4%. Neither bias nor standard deviation differed significantly between the two validated methods.

Keywords: Airborne laser scanner; basal area distribution; diameter distribution

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Ecology and Natural Resource Management, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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