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Forests 2017, 8(1), 7;

Direct Measurement of Tree Height Provides Different Results on the Assessment of LiDAR Accuracy

DISAFA: Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Forestali e Alimentari, University of Torino, Largo Paolo Braccini 2, 10095 Grugliasco (TO), Italy
D3A: Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Marche Polytechnic University, Via Brecce Bianche 10, 60131 Ancona (AN), Italy
CFAVS: Consorzio Forestale Alta Val di Susa, Via Pellousiere 6, 10056 Oulx (TO), Italy
TESAF: Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry, University of Padova, Viale dell’Università 16, 35020 Legnaro (PD), Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Christian Ginzler and Lars T. Waser
Received: 25 October 2016 / Revised: 15 December 2016 / Accepted: 20 December 2016 / Published: 23 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optimizing Forest Inventories with Remote Sensing Techniques)
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In this study, airborne laser scanning-based and traditional field-based survey methods for tree heights estimation are assessed by using one hundred felled trees as a reference dataset. Comparisons between remote sensing and field-based methods were applied to four circular permanent plots located in the western Italian Alps and established within the Alpine Space project NewFor. Remote sensing (Airborne Laser Scanning, ALS), traditional field-based (indirect measurement, IND), and direct measurement of felled trees (DIR) methods were compared by using summary statistics, linear regression models, and variation partitioning. Our results show that tree height estimates by Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) approximated to real heights (DIR) of felled trees. Considering the species separately, Larix decidua was the species that showed the smaller mean absolute difference (0.95 m) between remote sensing (ALS) and direct field (DIR) data, followed by Picea abies and Pinus sylvestris (1.13 m and 1.04 m, respectively). Our results cannot be generalized to ALS surveys with low pulses density (<5/m2) and with view angles far from zero (nadir). We observed that the tree heights estimation by laser scanner is closer to actual tree heights (DIR) than traditional field-based survey, and this was particularly valid for tall trees with conical shape crowns. View Full-Text
Keywords: ALS; conifer forest; forest inventory; tree height; felled trees; ground control point ALS; conifer forest; forest inventory; tree height; felled trees; ground control point

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Sibona, E.; Vitali, A.; Meloni, F.; Caffo, L.; Dotta, A.; Lingua, E.; Motta, R.; Garbarino, M. Direct Measurement of Tree Height Provides Different Results on the Assessment of LiDAR Accuracy. Forests 2017, 8, 7.

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