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A comparison of biophysical parameter retrieval for forestry using airborne and satellite LiDAR

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Abstract:

This paper compares vegetation height metrics and fractional cover derived from coincident small footprint, discrete return airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) scanning data (Optech Airborne Laser Terrain Mapper (ALTM)) with those estimated from large footprint, full waveform LiDAR profiling using the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS). Estimates of maximum canopy height showed correspondence between the two methods with R2 = 0.68 (rms. error (RMSE) = 4.4 m). The relationship between 99th percentiles (often associated with forestry top height) showed R2 = 0.75, RMSE = 3.5 m. Detection of surface elevation limits corresponded well, (R2 = 0.71, RMSE = 5.0 m). Correlations between satellite waveform and airborne LiDAR canopy cover estimates gave R2 = 0.41 and R2 = 0.63 for dominant cover of conifers or broadleaf species, respectively. The results suggest that the broad Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat)/GLAS footprints can provide estimates of mixed vegetation canopy height which are comparable to those obtained from relatively high density airborne LiDAR data.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01431160903022944

Affiliations: 1: Climate and Land-Surface Systems Interaction Centre, Geography Department, Swansea University, Swansea, Singleton Park, UK,Forest Research, Northern Research Station, Forestry Commission of Great Britain, Roslin, Midlothian, UK 2: Climate and Land-Surface Systems Interaction Centre, Geography Department, Swansea University, Swansea, Singleton Park, UK 3: Forest Research, Northern Research Station, Forestry Commission of Great Britain, Roslin, Midlothian, UK 4: Department of Natural Resources and Water, Remote Sensing Centre, Indooroopilly, Queensland, Australia

Publication date: October 1, 2009

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