Forests 2014, 5(5), 936-951; doi:10.3390/f5050936
Article

Analysis of the Influence of Plot Size and LiDAR Density on Forest Structure Attribute Estimates

1,* email, 1,2email, 3email and 3email
Received: 1 January 2014; in revised form: 3 March 2014 / Accepted: 13 May 2014 / Published: 16 May 2014
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.
Abstract: This paper assesses the combined effect of field plot size and LiDAR density on the estimation of four forest structure attributes: volume, total biomass, basal area and canopy cover. A total of 21 different plot sizes were considered, obtained by decreasing the field measured plot radius value from 25 to 5 m with regular intervals of 1 m. LiDAR data densities were simulated by randomly removing LiDAR pulses until reaching nine different density values. In order to avoid influence of the digital terrain model spatial resolution, eight different resolutions were considered (from 0.25 to 2 m grid size) and tested. A set of per-plot LiDAR metrics was extracted for each parameter combination. Prediction models of forest attributes were defined using forward stepwise ordinary least-square regressions. Results show that the highest R2 values are reached by combining large plot sizes and high LiDAR data density values. However, plot size has a greater effect than LiDAR point density. In general, minimum plot areas of 500–600 m2 are needed for volume, biomass and basal area estimates, and of 300–400 m2 for canopy cover. Larger plot sizes do not significantly increase the accuracy of the models, but they increase the cost of fieldwork.
Keywords: forest inventory; LiDAR; plot size; data density; forest structure; forest attributes; remote sensing
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ruiz, L.A.; Hermosilla, T.; Mauro, F.; Godino, M. Analysis of the Influence of Plot Size and LiDAR Density on Forest Structure Attribute Estimates. Forests 2014, 5, 936-951.

AMA Style

Ruiz LA, Hermosilla T, Mauro F, Godino M. Analysis of the Influence of Plot Size and LiDAR Density on Forest Structure Attribute Estimates. Forests. 2014; 5(5):936-951.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ruiz, Luis A.; Hermosilla, Txomin; Mauro, Francisco; Godino, Miguel. 2014. "Analysis of the Influence of Plot Size and LiDAR Density on Forest Structure Attribute Estimates." Forests 5, no. 5: 936-951.

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