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Soto-Berelov M.,RMIT University | Jones S.,RMIT University | Mellor A.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Culvenor D.,Environmental Sensing Systems | And 5 more authors.
International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS) | Year: 2013

Collaborative ventures in research infrastructure can allow multiple stakeholders to benefit from outcomes that may otherwise be cost prohibitive. In this study, we discuss how the investment in research infrastructure by various sectors of the academic, scientific, and land management community is promoting high end forest ecosystem research in Australia. Three 25km2 woodland and open canopy forests that are representative of Victoria's 8 million hectares of public forests were incorporated into the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network's calibration/validation campaign. The sites are being used to develop algorithms that will assist land management agencies across various states to characterize fundamental forest attributes at a landscape level. Wireless technology (VegNet) is also being trialed at these sites to investigate forest condition over time. This study provides an example of how the establishment and co-investment in research infrastructure amongst different sectors of the scientific community promote data sharing and ultimately expand our understanding of forest ecosystems, which can in turn be used for monitoring and to inform policy and land management decision making. © 2013 IEEE.

Calders K.,Wageningen University | Newnham G.,CSIRO | Burt A.,University College London | Murphy S.,University of Melbourne | And 9 more authors.
Methods in Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2015

Summary: Allometric equations are currently used to estimate above-ground biomass (AGB) based on the indirect relationship with tree parameters. Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) can measure the canopy structure in 3D with high detail. In this study, we develop an approach to estimate AGB from TLS data, which does not need any prior information about allometry. We compare these estimates against destructively harvested AGB estimates and AGB derived from allometric equations. We also evaluate tree parameters, diameter at breast height (DBH) and tree height, estimated from traditional field inventory and TLS data. Tree height, DBH and AGB data are collected through traditional forest inventory, TLS and destructive sampling of 65 trees in a native Eucalypt Open Forest in Victoria, Australia. Single trees are extracted from the TLS data and quantitative structure models are used to estimate the tree volume directly from the point cloud data. AGB is inferred from these volumes and basic density information and is then compared with the estimates derived from allometric equations and destructive sampling. AGB estimates derived from TLS show a high agreement with the reference values from destructive sampling, with a concordance correlation coefficient (CCC) of 0·98. The agreement between AGB estimates from allometric equations and the reference is lower (CCC = 0·68-0·78). Our TLS approach shows a total AGB overestimation of 9·68% compared to an underestimation of 36·57-29·85% for the allometric equations. The error for AGB estimates using allometric equations increases exponentially with increasing DBH, whereas the error for AGB estimates from TLS is not dependent on DBH. The TLS method does not rely on indirect relationships with tree parameters or calibration data and shows better agreement with the reference data compared to estimates from allometric equations. Using 3D data also enables us to look at the height distributions of AGB, and we demonstrate that 80% of the AGB at plot level is located in the lower 60% of the trees for a Eucalypt Open Forest. This method can be applied in many forest types and can assist in the calibration and validation of broad-scale biomass maps.s © 2014 British Ecological Society.

Li Z.,Boston University | Douglas E.,Boston University | Strahler A.,Boston University | Schaaf C.,University of Massachusetts Boston | And 15 more authors.
International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS) | Year: 2013

Terrestrial laser scanning combining both near-infrared (NIR) and shortwave-infrared (SWIR) wavelengths can readily distinguish broad leaves from trunks, branches, and ground surfaces. Merging data from the 1548 nm SWIR laser in the Dual-Wavelength Echidna® Lidar (DWEL) instrument in engineering trials with data from the 1064 nm NIR laser in the Echidna ® Validation Instrument (EVI), we imaged a deciduous forest scene at the Harvard Forest, Petersham, Massachusetts, and showed that trunks are about twice as bright as leaves at 1548 nm, while they have about equal brightness at 1064 nm. The reduced return of leaves in the SWIR is also evident in merged point clouds constructed from the two laser scans. This distinctive difference between leaf and trunk reflectance in the two wavelengths validates the principle of effective discrimination of leaves from other targets using the new dual-wavelength instrument. © 2013 IEEE.

Yang X.,University of Massachusetts Boston | Schaaf C.,University of Massachusetts Boston | Strahler A.,Boston University | Li Z.,Boston University | And 15 more authors.
International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS) | Year: 2013

This study presents a three-dimensional (3-D) forest reconstruction methodology using the new and emerging science of terrestrial full-waveform lidar scanning, which can provide rapid and efficient measurements of canopy structure. A 3-D forest reconstruction provides a new pathway to estimate forest structural parameters such as tree diameter at breast height, tree height, crown diameter, and stem count density (trees per hectare). It enables the study of the detailed structure study with respect to the canopy (foliage or branch/trunk), as well as the generation of a digital elevation model (DEM) and a canopy height model (CHM) at the stand level. Leaf area index (LAI) and Foliage area volume density profile directly estimated from voxelized 3-D reconstruction agree with measurements from field and airborne instrument. A 3-D forest reconstruction allows virtual direct representation of forest structure, and provides consistent and reliable validation data sources for airborne or spaceborne data. © 2013 IEEE.

Yang X.,University of Massachusetts Boston | Schaaf C.,University of Massachusetts Boston | Strahler A.,Boston University | Kunz T.,Boston University | And 9 more authors.
Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing | Year: 2013

The nature of forest structure plays an important role in the study of foraging behaviors of bats. In this study, we demonstrate a new combined methodology that uses both thermal imaging technology and a ground-based LiDAR system to record and reconstruct Eptesicus fuscus (big brown bats) flight trajectories in three-dimensional (3-D) space. The combination of the two 3-D datasets provided a fine-scale reconstruction of the flight characteristics adjacent to and within the forests. A 3-D forest reconstruction, assembled from nine Echidna Validation Instrument LiDAR scans over the 1 ha site area, provided the essential environmental variables for the study of bat foraging behaviors, such as the canopy height, terrain, location of the obstacles, and canopy openness at a bat roosting and maternity site in Petersham, Massachusetts. Flight trajectories of 24 bats were recorded over the 25 m × 37.5 m region within the LiDAR forest reconstruction area. The trajectories were reconstructed using imaging data from multiple FLIR ThermoVision SC8000 cameras and were co-registered to the 3-D forest reconstruction. Twenty-four of these flight trajectories were categorized into four different behavior groups according to velocity and altitude analysis of the flight trajectories. Initial results showed that although all bats were guided by echolocation and avoided hitting a tree that was in all of their flight paths, different bats chose different flight routes. This study is an initial demonstration of the power of coupling thermal image analysis and LiDAR forest reconstructions. Our goal was to break ground for future ecological studies, where more extensive flight trajectories of bats can be coupled with the canopy reconstructions to better establish responses of bats to different habitat characteristics and clutter, which includes both static (trees) and dynamic (other bats) obstacles. © 2013 CASI.

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