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Open AccessArticle

Small Footprint Full-Waveform Metrics Contribution to the Prediction of Biomass in Tropical Forests

Interdepartmental Research Center of Geomatics (CIRGEO), University of Padova, Legnaro 35020, Italy
IAFENT Division, Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC), via Pacinotti 5, Viterbo 01100, Italy
Department for Innovation in Biological, Agro-Food and Forest Systems (DIBAF), University of Tuscia, Viterbo 01100, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Remote Sens. 2014, 6(10), 9576-9599;
Received: 20 June 2014 / Revised: 28 September 2014 / Accepted: 29 September 2014 / Published: 10 October 2014
We tested metrics from full-waveform (FW) LiDAR (light detection and ranging) as predictors for forest basal area (BA) and aboveground biomass (AGB), in a tropical moist forest. Three levels of metrics are tested: (i) peak-level, based on each return echo; (ii) pulse-level, based on the whole return signal from each emitted pulse; and (iii) plot-level, simulating a large footprint LiDAR dataset. Several of the tested metrics have significant correlation, with two predictors, found by stepwise regression, in particular: median distribution of the height above ground (nZmedian) and fifth percentile of total pulse return intensity (i_tot5th). The former contained the most information and explained 58% and 62% of the variance in AGB and BA values; stepwise regression left us with two and four predictors, respectively, explaining 65% and 79% of the variance. For BA, the predictors were standard deviation, median and fifth percentile of total return pulse intensity (i_totstdDev, i_totmedian and i_tot5th) and nZmedian, whereas for AGB, only the last two were used. The plot-based metric showed that the median height of echo count (HOMTC) performs best, with very similar results as nZmedian, as expected. Cross-validation allowed the analysis of residuals and model robustness. We discuss our results considering our specific case scenario of a complex forest structure with a high degree of variability in terms of biomass. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomass; forest; LiDAR; full-waveform; basal area biomass; forest; LiDAR; full-waveform; basal area
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Pirotti, F.; Laurin, G.V.; Vettore, A.; Masiero, A.; Valentini, R. Small Footprint Full-Waveform Metrics Contribution to the Prediction of Biomass in Tropical Forests. Remote Sens. 2014, 6, 9576-9599.

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