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Remote Sens. 2015, 7(7), 8453-8468; doi:10.3390/rs70708453

Effects of Pulse Density on Digital Terrain Models and Canopy Metrics Using Airborne Laser Scanning in a Tropical Rainforest

Department of Ecology and Natural Resource Management, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, P.O. Box 5003, N-1432 Ås, Norway
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Academic Editors: Lars T. Waser and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 28 March 2015 / Revised: 9 June 2015 / Accepted: 25 June 2015 / Published: 30 June 2015
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Abstract

Airborne laser scanning (ALS) is increasingly being used to enhance the accuracy of biomass estimates in tropical forests. Although the technological development of ALS instruments has resulted in ever-greater pulse densities, studies in boreal and sub-boreal forests have shown consistent results even at relatively small pulse densities. The objective of the present study was to assess the effects of reduced pulse density on (1) the digital terrain model (DTM), and (2) canopy metrics derived from ALS data collected in a tropical rainforest in Tanzania. We used a total of 612 coordinates measured with a differential dual frequency Global Navigation Satellite System receiver to analyze the effects on DTMs at pulse densities of 8, 4, 2, 1, 0.5, and 0.025 pulses·m−2. Furthermore, canopy metrics derived for each pulse density and from four different field plot sizes (0.07, 0.14, 0.21, and 0.28 ha) were analyzed. Random variation in DTMs and canopy metrics increased with reduced pulse density. Similarly, increased plot size reduced variation in canopy metrics. A reliability ratio, quantifying replication effects in the canopy metrics, indicated that most of the common metrics assessed were reliable at pulse densities >0.5 pulses·m−2 at a plot size of 0.07 ha. View Full-Text
Keywords: ALS; airborne laser scanning; digital terrain model; DTM; LiDAR; reliability ratio; tropical rainforest ALS; airborne laser scanning; digital terrain model; DTM; LiDAR; reliability ratio; tropical rainforest
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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Hansen, E.H.; Gobakken, T.; Næsset, E. Effects of Pulse Density on Digital Terrain Models and Canopy Metrics Using Airborne Laser Scanning in a Tropical Rainforest. Remote Sens. 2015, 7, 8453-8468.

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