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Forests 2017, 8(6), 184; doi:10.3390/f8060184

Terrestrial Laser Scanning for Forest Inventories—Tree Diameter Distribution and Scanner Location Impact on Occlusion

1
Forest Resources and Management, WSL Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Zürcherstrasse 111, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
2
Remote Sensing Laboratories, Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstr 190, CH-8057 Zürich, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Timothy A. Martin
Received: 31 March 2017 / Revised: 15 May 2017 / Accepted: 20 May 2017 / Published: 26 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optimizing Forest Inventories with Remote Sensing Techniques)
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Abstract

The rapid development of portable terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) devices in recent years has led to increased attention to their applicability for forest inventories, especially where direct measurements are very expensive or nearly impossible. However, in terms of precision and reproducibility, there are still some pending questions. In this study, we investigate the influence of stand parameters on the TLS-related visibility in forest plots. We derived 2740 stand parameters from Swiss national forest inventory sample plots. Based on these parameters, we defined virtual scenes of the forest plots with the software “Blender”. Using Blender’s ray-tracing features, we assessed the 3D coverage in a cubic space and 2D visibility properties for each of the virtual plots with different scanner placement schemes. We provide a formula to calculate the maximum number of possible hits for any object size at any distance from a scanner with any resolution. Additionally, we show that the Weibull scale parameter describing a stand, in addition to the number of trees and the mean diameter of the dominant 100 trees per hectare, has a significant and relevant influence on the visibility of the sample plot. Furthermore, we show the effectiveness and the efficiency of 40 scanner location patterns. These experiments demonstrate that intuitively distributing scanner locations evenly within the sample plot, with similar distances between locations and from the edge of the sample plot, provides the best overall visibility of the stand. View Full-Text
Keywords: terrestrial laser scanning; forest inventory; occlusion; stem diameter distribution terrestrial laser scanning; forest inventory; occlusion; stem diameter distribution
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MDPI and ACS Style

Abegg, M.; Kükenbrink, D.; Zell, J.; Schaepman, M.E.; Morsdorf, F. Terrestrial Laser Scanning for Forest Inventories—Tree Diameter Distribution and Scanner Location Impact on Occlusion. Forests 2017, 8, 184.

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