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Predicting stand-thinning maturity from airborne laser scanning data

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Airborne laser scanning (ALS) has been used in recent years to acquire accurate remote-sensing material for carrying out practical forest inventories. Still, much of the information needed in forest management planning must be collected in the field. For example, forest management proposals are often determined in the field by an expert. In the present study, statistical features extracted from ALS data were used in logistic regression models and in nonparametric k-MSN estimation to predict the thinning maturity of stands. The research material consisted of 381 treewise measured circular plots in young and advanced thinning stands from the vicinity of Evo, in southern Finland. Timing of thinning was determined in the field by an expert and coded as a binary variable. Models were developed (1) to locate stands that will reach thinning maturity within the next 10-year period and (2) for stands in which thinning should be done immediately. For comparison purposes, logistic regression models were formulated from accurately field-measured stand characteristics. Logistic regression models based on ALS features predicted the thinning maturity with a classification accuracy of 79% (1) and 83% (2). The respective percentages were 66% and 83% with models based on field-measured stand characteristics and 70% and 86% with k-MSN. The study showed that ALS data can be used to predict stand-thinning maturity in a practical way.
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Keywords: Airborne laser scanning; forest management; k-MSN; logistic regression; thinning

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland 2: Finnish Geodetic Institute, Masala, Finland 3: Research Institute of Modelling and Measuring for the Built Environment, Helsinki University of Technology, Espoo, Finland 4: HAMK University of Applied Sciences, Evo, Finland

Publication date: 2011-04-01

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