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Full-Waveform Airborne Laser Scanning in Vegetation Studies—A Review of Point Cloud and Waveform Features for Tree Species Classification

1
Institute of Geography, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg 69120, Germany
2
Heidelberg Center for the Environment (HCE), Heidelberg University, Heidelberg 69120, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Chris Hopkinson, Laura Chasmer and Craig Mahoney
Forests 2016, 7(9), 198; https://doi.org/10.3390/f7090198
Received: 19 May 2016 / Revised: 15 August 2016 / Accepted: 31 August 2016 / Published: 6 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue LiDAR Remote Sensing of Forest Resources)
In recent years, small-footprint full-waveform airborne laser scanning has become readily available and established for vegetation studies in the fields of forestry, agriculture and urban studies. Independent of the field of application and the derived final product, each study uses features to classify a target object and to assess its characteristics (e.g., tree species). These laser scanning features describe an observable characteristic of the returned laser signal (e.g., signal amplitude) or a quantity of an object (e.g., height-width ratio of the tree crown). In particular, studies dealing with tree species classification apply a variety of such features as input. However, an extensive overview, categorization and comparison of features from full-waveform airborne laser scanning and how they relate to specific tree species are still missing. This review identifies frequently used full-waveform airborne laser scanning-based point cloud and waveform features for tree species classification and compares the applied features and their characteristics for specific tree species detection. Furthermore, limiting and influencing factors on feature characteristics and tree classification are discussed with respect to vegetation structure, data acquisition and processing. View Full-Text
Keywords: LiDAR; airborne laser scanning; full-waveform; vegetation; tree species; point cloud features; waveform features; classification LiDAR; airborne laser scanning; full-waveform; vegetation; tree species; point cloud features; waveform features; classification
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MDPI and ACS Style

Koenig, K.; Höfle, B. Full-Waveform Airborne Laser Scanning in Vegetation Studies—A Review of Point Cloud and Waveform Features for Tree Species Classification. Forests 2016, 7, 198.

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