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Remote Sens. 2014, 6(8), 7592-7609; doi:10.3390/rs6087592

Sub-Compartment Variation in Tree Height, Stem Diameter and Stocking in a Pinus radiata D. Don Plantation Examined Using Airborne LiDAR Data

1
Ecosystem Management, School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales 2351, Australia
2
Forest Science Centre, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, North Parramatta, New South Wales 2119, Australia
3
Trangie Agricultural Research Centre, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Trangie, New South Wales 2823, Australia
4
Remote Census Pty Ltd., Morisset, New South Wales 2264, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 April 2014 / Revised: 28 July 2014 / Accepted: 28 July 2014 / Published: 15 August 2014
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Abstract

Better information regarding the spatial variability of height, Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) and stocking could improve inventory estimates at the operational Planning Unit since these parameters are used extensively in allometric equations, including stem volume, biomass and carbon calculations. In this study, the influence of stand stocking on height and DBH of two even aged radiata pine (Pinus radiata D. Don) stands were investigated using airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data at a study site in New South Wales, Australia. Both stands were characterized by irregular stocking due to patchy establishment and self-thinning in the absence of any silvicultural thinning events. For the purpose of this study, a total of 34 plots from a 34 year old site and 43 plots from a nine year old site were established, from which a total of 447 trees were sampled. Within these plots, DBH and height measurements were measured and their relationships with stocking were evaluated. LiDAR was used for height estimation as well as stem counts in fixed plots (stocking). The results showed a significant relationship between stem DBH and stocking. At both locations, trees with larger diameters were found on lower stocking sites. Height values were also significantly correlated with stocking, with taller trees associated with high stocking. These results were further verified of additional tree samples, with independent field surveys for DBH and LiDAR-derived metrics for height analysis. This study confirmed the relationship between P. radiata tree heights and stem diameter with stocking and demonstrated the capacity of LiDAR to capture sub-compartment variation in these tree-level attributes. View Full-Text
Keywords: Canopy Height Model (CHM); LiDAR-derived metrics; multivariate mixed linear models; stocking rates; LiDAR Canopy Height Model (CHM); LiDAR-derived metrics; multivariate mixed linear models; stocking rates; LiDAR
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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

Saremi, H.; Kumar, L.; Stone, C.; Melville, G.; Turner, R. Sub-Compartment Variation in Tree Height, Stem Diameter and Stocking in a Pinus radiata D. Don Plantation Examined Using Airborne LiDAR Data. Remote Sens. 2014, 6, 7592-7609.

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