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Open AccessArticle

Predicting Forest Inventory Attributes Using Airborne Laser Scanning, Aerial Imagery, and Harvester Data

1
Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland
2
Metsäteho Ltd., Vernissakatu 1, FI-01300 Vantaa, Finland
3
Arbonaut Ltd., Kaislakatu 2, FI-80130 Joensuu, Finland
4
Finnish Geospatial Research Institute, National Land Survey, Geodeetinrinne 2, FI-02431 Masala, Finland
5
School of Forest Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box-111, Joensuu 80101, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(7), 797; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11070797
Received: 26 February 2019 / Revised: 28 March 2019 / Accepted: 29 March 2019 / Published: 3 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Techniques for Precision Forestry)
The aim of the study was to develop a new method to use tree stem information recorded by harvesters along operative logging in remote sensing-based prediction of forest inventory attributes in mature stands. The reference sample plots were formed from harvester data, using two different tree positions: harvester positions (XYH) in global satellite navigation system and computationally improved harvester head positions (XYHH). Study materials consisted of 158 mature Norway-spruce-dominated stands located in Southern Finland that were clear-cut during 2015–16. Tree attributes were derived from the stem dimensions recorded by the harvester. The forest inventory attributes were compiled for both stands and sample plots generated for stands for four different sample plot sizes (254, 509, 761, and 1018 m2). Prediction models between the harvester-based forest inventory attributes and remote sensing features of sample plots were developed. The stand-level predictions were obtained, and basal-area weighted mean diameter (Dg) and basal-area weighted mean height (Hg) were nearly constant for all model alternatives with relative root-mean-square errors (RMSE) roughly 10–11% and 6–8%, respectively, and minor biases. For basal area (G) and volume (V), using either of the position methods, resulted in roughly similar predictions at best, with approximately 25% relative RMSE and 15% bias. With XYHH positions, the predictions of G and V were nearly independent of the sample plot size within 254–761 m2. Therefore, the harvester-based data can be used as ground truth for remote sensing forest inventory methods. In predicting the forest inventory attributes, it is advisable to utilize harvester head positions (XYHH) and a smallest plot size of 254 m2. Instead, if only harvester positions (XYH) are available, expanding the sample plot size to 761 m2 reaches a similar accuracy to that obtained using XYHH positions, as the larger sample plot moderates the uncertainties when determining the individual tree position. View Full-Text
Keywords: LiDAR; cut-to-length (CTL) harvester; forest planning; wood procurement; tree positioning; k-Most similar neighbor LiDAR; cut-to-length (CTL) harvester; forest planning; wood procurement; tree positioning; k-Most similar neighbor
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MDPI and ACS Style

Saukkola, A.; Melkas, T.; Riekki, K.; Sirparanta, S.; Peuhkurinen, J.; Holopainen, M.; Hyyppä, J.; Vastaranta, M. Predicting Forest Inventory Attributes Using Airborne Laser Scanning, Aerial Imagery, and Harvester Data. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 797.

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