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ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2012, 1(3), 242-255; doi:10.3390/ijgi1030242

Detecting Changes in Forest Structure over Time with Bi-Temporal Terrestrial Laser Scanning Data

1
Department of Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry, Finnish Geodetic Institute, FI-02431 Masala, Finland
2
Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 August 2012 / Revised: 10 October 2012 / Accepted: 22 October 2012 / Published: 26 October 2012
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Abstract

Changes to stems caused by natural forces and timber harvesting constitute an essential input for many forestry-related applications and ecological studies, especially forestry inventories based on the use of permanent sample plots. Conventional field measurement is widely acknowledged as being time-consuming and labor-intensive. More automated and efficient alternatives or supportive methods are needed. Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) has been demonstrated to be a promising method in forestry field inventories. Nevertheless, the applicability of TLS in recording changes in the structure of forest plots has not been studied in detail. This paper presents a fully automated method for detecting changes in forest structure over time using bi-temporal TLS data. The developed method was tested on five densely populated forest plots including 137 trees and 50 harvested trees in point clouds. The present study demonstrated that 90 percent of tree stem changes could be automatically located from single-scan TLS data. These changes accounted for 92 percent of the changed basal area. The results indicate that the processing of TLS data collected at different times to detect tree stem changes can be fully automated.
Keywords: forestry; remote sensing; terrestrial laser scanning; change detection; point cloud forestry; remote sensing; terrestrial laser scanning; change detection; point cloud
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

Liang, X.; Hyyppä, J.; Kaartinen, H.; Holopainen, M.; Melkas, T. Detecting Changes in Forest Structure over Time with Bi-Temporal Terrestrial Laser Scanning Data. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2012, 1, 242-255.

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