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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1084; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101084

A Region-Based Hierarchical Cross-Section Analysis for Individual Tree Crown Delineation Using ALS Data

Department of Forest Management, School of Forestry, Northeast Forestry University, Harbin 150040, Heilongjiang, China
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Received: 31 August 2017 / Revised: 30 September 2017 / Accepted: 19 October 2017 / Published: 24 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Remote Sensing)
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Abstract

In recent years, airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) that provided three-dimensional forest information has been widely applied in forest inventory and has shown great potential in automatic individual tree crown delineation (ITCD). Usually, ITCD algorithms include treetop detection and crown boundary delineation procedures. In this study, we proposed a novel method called region-based hierarchical cross-section analysis (RHCSA), which combined the two procedures together based on a canopy height model (CHM) derived from airborne LiDAR data for ITCD. This method considers the CHM as a three-dimensional topological surface, simulates stereoscopic scanning from top to bottom using an iterative process, and utilizes the individual crown and vertical structure of crowns to progressively detect individual treetops and delineate crown boundaries. The proposed method was tested in natural forest stands with high canopy densities in Liangshui National Nature Reserve and Maoershan Forest Farm, Heilongjiang Province, China. Its performance was evaluated by an accuracy procedure that considered both the relative position of treetops and overlapped area of crowns. The average overall accuracy achieved was 85.12% for coniferous plots, 83.86% for deciduous plots and 86.44% for coniferous and broad-leaved mixed forest plots. The results revealed that the RHCSA method can detect and delineate individual tree crowns with little influence from forest types and crown size. It could provide technical support for individual tree crown delineation in coniferous, deciduous and mixed forests with high canopy densities. View Full-Text
Keywords: treetop detection; crown delineation; hierarchical cross-section analysis; LiDAR; CHM; ITCD treetop detection; crown delineation; hierarchical cross-section analysis; LiDAR; CHM; ITCD
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Zhao, Y.; Hao, Y.; Zhen, Z.; Quan, Y. A Region-Based Hierarchical Cross-Section Analysis for Individual Tree Crown Delineation Using ALS Data. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 1084.

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