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Remote Sens. 2011, 3(8), 1691-1709; doi:10.3390/rs3081691

Deriving Fuel Mass by Size Class in Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) Using Terrestrial Laser Scanning

National Center for Landscape Fire Analysis, College of Forestry and Conservation, The University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 July 2011 / Revised: 26 July 2011 / Accepted: 4 August 2011 / Published: 16 August 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Laser Scanning in Forests)
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Requirements for describing coniferous forests are changing in response to wildfire concerns, bio-energy needs, and climate change interests. At the same time, technology advancements are transforming how forest properties can be measured. Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) is yielding promising results for measuring tree biomass parameters that, historically, have required costly destructive sampling and resulted in small sample sizes. Here we investigate whether TLS intensity data can be used to distinguish foliage and small branches (≤0.635 cm diameter; coincident with the one-hour timelag fuel size class) from larger branchwood (>0.635 cm) in Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) branch specimens. We also consider the use of laser density for predicting biomass by size class. Measurements are addressed across multiple ranges and scan angles. Results show TLS capable of distinguishing fine fuels from branches at a threshold of one standard deviation above mean intensity. Additionally, the relationship between return density and biomass is linear by fuel type for fine fuels (r2 = 0.898; SE 22.7%) and branchwood (r2 = 0.937; SE 28.9%), as well as for total mass (r2 = 0.940; SE 25.5%). Intensity decays predictably as scan distances increase; however, the range-intensity relationship is best described by an exponential model rather than 1/d2. Scan angle appears to have no systematic effect on fine fuel discrimination, while some differences are observed in density-mass relationships with changing angles due to shadowing.
Keywords: Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS); Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii); biomass; canopy fine fuels; intensity Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS); Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii); biomass; canopy fine fuels; intensity

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Seielstad, C.; Stonesifer, C.; Rowell, E.; Queen, L. Deriving Fuel Mass by Size Class in Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) Using Terrestrial Laser Scanning. Remote Sens. 2011, 3, 1691-1709.

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