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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(1), 43; doi:10.3390/rs8010043

Tropical Forests of Réunion Island Classified from Airborne Full-Waveform LiDAR Measurements

1
Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE), Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux énergies alternatives—Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique—Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, 91191 Gif sur Yvette Cedex, France
2
Laboratoire de l’Atmosphère et Cyclones (LACy), Université de la Réunion, CNRS, Météo-France, 15 Avenue René Cassin, CS 92003, 97744 Saint-Denis Messag, France
3
UMR PVBMT, Peuplements Végétaux et Bioagresseurs en Milieu Tropical, Université de La Réunion, 15 Avenue R. Cassin, CS 92003, 97744 Saint-Denis Messag, France
4
UMR PVBMT, Peuplements Végétaux et Bioagresseurs en Milieu Tropical, Université de la Réunion, Pôle de Protection des Végétaux, 7, Chemin de l’IRAT, 97410 Saint Pierre, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Sangram Ganguly, Compton Tucker, Clement Atzberger and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 3 December 2015 / Revised: 27 December 2015 / Accepted: 29 December 2015 / Published: 7 January 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Vegetation Structure and Dynamics)
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Abstract

From an unprecedented experiment using airborne measurements performed over the rich forests of Réunion Island, this paper aims to present a methodology for the classification of diverse tropical forest biomes as retrieved from vertical profiles measured using a full-waveform LiDAR. This objective is met through the retrieval of both the canopy height and the Leaf Area Index (LAI), obtained as an integral of the foliage profile. The campaign involved sites ranging from coastal to rain forest, including tropical montane cloud forest, as found on the Bélouve plateau. The mean values of estimated LAI retrieved from the apparent foliage profile are between ~5 and 8 m2/m2, and the mean canopy height values are ~15 m for both tropical montane cloud and rain forests. Good agreement is found between LiDAR- and MODIS-derived LAI for moderate LAI (~5 m2/m2), but the LAI retrieved from LiDAR is larger than MODIS on thick rain forest sites (~8 against ~6 m2/m2 from MODIS). Regarding the characterization of tropical forest biomes, we show that the rain and montane tropical forests can be well distinguished from planted forests by the use of the parameters directly retrieved from LiDAR measurements. View Full-Text
Keywords: tropical forest; airborne LiDAR; canopy height; Leaf Area Index; apparent foliage tropical forest; airborne LiDAR; canopy height; Leaf Area Index; apparent foliage
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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

Shang, X.; Chazette, P.; Totems, J.; Dieudonné, E.; Hamonou, E.; Duflot, V.; Strasberg, D.; Flores, O.; Fournel, J.; Tulet, P. Tropical Forests of Réunion Island Classified from Airborne Full-Waveform LiDAR Measurements. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 43.

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