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A comparative study of the use of laser scanner data and field measurements in the prediction of crown height in boreal forests

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This study compares the results of the prediction of crown height characteristics using airborne laser scanner (ALS) data and intensive field measurements in boreal forests. The data consisted of 31 sample plots located in Kalkkinen, southern Finland. Crown height models were constructed at both the tree and plot level. Scots pine, Norway spruce and birches were used. The models included independent variables of tree levels, such as tree height, crown area and independent plot-level variables, i.e. canopy height and density quantiles and proportion of vegetation hits. Field measurement-based models used tree height and diameter at breast height as the independent tree-level variables, whereas basal area, mean diameter and height were used as the plot-level variables. The results indicated that the ALS-based crown height models were more accurate than the field measurement-based models when plot-level information was used as independent variables. However, the field measurement-based tree-level models for Scots pine and Norway spruce were more accurate than the ALS-based models. Even so, the accuracy of the different models was very similar and the study data set was quite small. The results of this study can be used for different tree growth studies and for the assessment of tree stock quality in boreal forests.

Keywords: Height quantiles; lidar; regression models; tree crown

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Forestry, University of Joensuu, Joensuu, Finland 2: Finnish Geodetic Institute, Geodeetinrinne 2, Masala, Finland 3: Joensuu Research Centre, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu, Finland

Publication date: June 1, 2006

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