Forests 2014, 5(2), 363-383; doi:10.3390/f5020363
Article

Assessing the Feasibility of Low-Density LiDAR for Stand Inventory Attribute Predictions in Complex and Managed Forests of Northern Maine, USA

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Received: 20 December 2013; in revised form: 1 February 2014 / Accepted: 19 February 2014 / Published: 24 February 2014
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Abstract: The objective of this study was to evaluate the applicability of using a low-density (1–3 points m−2) discrete-return LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) for predicting maximum tree height, stem density, basal area, quadratic mean diameter and total volume. The research was conducted at the Penobscot Experimental Forest in central Maine, where a range of stand structures and species composition is present and generally representative of northern Maine’s forests. Prediction models were developed utilizing the random forest algorithm that was calibrated using reference data collected in fixed radius circular plots. For comparison, the volume model used two sets of reference data, with one being fixed radius circular plots and the other variable radius plots. Prediction biases were evaluated with respect to five silvicultural treatments and softwood species composition based on the coefficient of determination (R2), root mean square error and mean bias, as well as residual scatter plots. Overall, this study found that LiDAR tended to underestimate maximum tree height and volume. The maximum tree height and volume models had R2 values of 86.9% and 72.1%, respectively. The accuracy of volume prediction was also sensitive to the plot type used. While it was difficult to develop models with a high R2, due to the complexities of Maine’s forest structures and species composition, the results suggest that low density LiDAR can be used as a supporting tool in forest management for this region.
Keywords: LiDAR; inventory; northern forest; silvicultural treatments; mixed species; multi-canopy; random forest
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

Hayashi, R.; Weiskittel, A.; Sader, S. Assessing the Feasibility of Low-Density LiDAR for Stand Inventory Attribute Predictions in Complex and Managed Forests of Northern Maine, USA. Forests 2014, 5, 363-383.

AMA Style

Hayashi R, Weiskittel A, Sader S. Assessing the Feasibility of Low-Density LiDAR for Stand Inventory Attribute Predictions in Complex and Managed Forests of Northern Maine, USA. Forests. 2014; 5(2):363-383.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hayashi, Rei; Weiskittel, Aaron; Sader, Steven. 2014. "Assessing the Feasibility of Low-Density LiDAR for Stand Inventory Attribute Predictions in Complex and Managed Forests of Northern Maine, USA." Forests 5, no. 2: 363-383.


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