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Airborne laser data for stand delineation and information extraction

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A literature review of new publications in the field of 3D data for forest applications shows that the application of airborne laser scanner data (ALS) is in the focus of research today due to its great potential for practical applications. While there is a lot of research carried out to derive forest management parameters based on laser metrics deduced from a single tree assessment or a statistical area based assessment, the delineation of stand or sub-stand units derived from laser metrics itself is a rather new approach. In order to describe stand characteristics statistical grid cell approaches or single tree approaches have been developed. The LIDAR based segmentation of stand or sub-stand units is rarely documented. This article provides information on enhanced processes to delineate stand or sub-stand units and to extract different forest information based on airborne laser derived parameters. For the stand delineation an automatic process was developed which provides a stand or sub-stand unit delineation which is according to the first results sufficiently uniform within stands and sufficiently different in species, age class, height class, structure and composition between stands in order to be distinguishable from adjacent areas. With a combined method the stand boundaries as they are established by the mapping units today, as well as sub-stand units which have in common physical characteristics indicating the same management disposition, were assessed. Finally a first validation of the forest stand unit delineation is provided, indicating the high potential of ALS data for separating stand units.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Freiburg, Dept. Remote Sensing and Landscape Information Systems FeLis, FRG

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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