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Open AccessArticle

Terrestrial Laser Scanning for Vegetation Sampling

School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington, Box 352100, Seattle, WA 98195-2100, USA
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Sensors 2014, 14(11), 20304-20319; https://doi.org/10.3390/s141120304
Received: 8 August 2014 / Revised: 9 October 2014 / Accepted: 17 October 2014 / Published: 28 October 2014
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensors)
We developed new vegetation indices utilizing terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) to quantify the three-dimensional spatial configuration of plant communities. These indices leverage the novelty of TLS data and rely on the spatially biased arrangement of a TLS point cloud. We calculated these indices from TLS data acquired within an existing long term manipulation of forest structure in Central Oregon, USA, and used these data to test for differences in vegetation structure. Results provided quantitative evidence of a significant difference in vegetation density due to thinning and burning, and a marginally significant difference in vegetation patchiness due to grazing. A comparison to traditional field sampling highlighted the novelty of the TLS based method. By creating a linkage between traditional field sampling and landscape ecology, these indices enable field investigations of fine-scale spatial patterns. Applications include experimental assessment, long-term monitoring, and habitat characterization. View Full-Text
Keywords: density; patchiness; forest; remote sensing; grazing; fire density; patchiness; forest; remote sensing; grazing; fire
MDPI and ACS Style

Richardson, J.J.; Moskal, L.M.; Bakker, J.D. Terrestrial Laser Scanning for Vegetation Sampling. Sensors 2014, 14, 20304-20319.

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