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Relationship between LiDAR-derived forest canopy height and Landsat images

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The mean and standard deviation (SD) of light detection and ranging (LiDAR)-derived canopy height are related to forest structure. However, LiDAR data typically cover a limited area and have a high economic cost compared with satellite optical imagery. Optical images may be required to extrapolate LiDAR height measurements across a broad landscape. Different spectral indices were obtained from three Landsat scenes. The mean, median, SD and coefficient of variation (CV) of LiDAR canopy height measurements were calculated in 30-m square blocks corresponding with Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) pixels. Correlation and forward stepwise regression analysis was applied to these data sets. Mean and median LiDAR height versus normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), normalized difference moisture index (NDMI), normalized burn ratio (NBR) and wetness Tasseled Cap showed the best correlation coefficients (R2 ranging between -0.62 and -0.76). Nineteen regression models were obtained (R2 = 0.65-0.70). These results show that LiDAR-derived canopy height may be associated with Landsat spectral indices. This approach is of interest in sustainable forest management, although further research is required to improve accuracy.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: E.T.S.I. Montes, Technical University of Madrid (UPM), Ciudad Universitaria s.n., Madrid, Spain 2: Forestry Sciences Laboratory, Pacific Northwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Corvallis, OR, USA

Publication date: 2010-02-01

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