Sensors 2014, 14(8), 14994-15008; doi:10.3390/s140814994
Article

Automated In-Situ Laser Scanner for Monitoring Forest Leaf Area Index

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Received: 9 June 2014; in revised form: 7 August 2014 / Accepted: 7 August 2014 / Published: 14 August 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture and Forestry: Sensors, Technologies and Procedures)
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Abstract: An automated laser rangefinding instrument was developed to characterize overstorey and understorey vegetation dynamics over time. Design criteria were based on information needs within the statewide forest monitoring program in Victoria, Australia. The ground-based monitoring instrument captures the key vegetation structural information needed to overcome ambiguity in the estimation of forest Leaf Area Index (LAI) from satellite sensors. The scanning lidar instrument was developed primarily from low cost, commercially accessible components. While the 635 nm wavelength lidar is not ideally suited to vegetation studies, there was an acceptable trade-off between cost and performance. Tests demonstrated reliable range estimates to live foliage up to a distance of 60 m during night-time operation. Given the instrument’s scan angle of 57.5 degrees zenith, the instrument is an effective tool for monitoring LAI in forest canopies up to a height of 30 m. An 18 month field trial of three co-located instruments showed consistent seasonal trends and mean LAI of between 1.32 to 1.56 and a temporal LAI variation of 8 to 17% relative to the mean.
Keywords: Lidar; rangefinding; forest; LAI; canopy; VEGNET
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Culvenor, D.S.; Newnham, G.J.; Mellor, A.; Sims, N.C.; Haywood, A. Automated In-Situ Laser Scanner for Monitoring Forest Leaf Area Index. Sensors 2014, 14, 14994-15008.

AMA Style

Culvenor DS, Newnham GJ, Mellor A, Sims NC, Haywood A. Automated In-Situ Laser Scanner for Monitoring Forest Leaf Area Index. Sensors. 2014; 14(8):14994-15008.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Culvenor, Darius S.; Newnham, Glenn J.; Mellor, Andrew; Sims, Neil C.; Haywood, Andrew. 2014. "Automated In-Situ Laser Scanner for Monitoring Forest Leaf Area Index." Sensors 14, no. 8: 14994-15008.


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