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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(11), 1202; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9111202

Estimating Leaf Area Density of Individual Trees Using the Point Cloud Segmentation of Terrestrial LiDAR Data and a Voxel-Based Model

1
School of Resources and Environment, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, No. 2006, Xiyuan Ave, West Hi-Tech Zone, Chengdu 611731, China
2
Center for Information Geoscience, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, No. 2006, Xiyuan Ave, West Hi-Tech Zone, Chengdu 611731, China
3
Department of Surveying and Mapping Engineering, Sichuan Water Conservancy Vocational College, Chongzhou 611231, China
4
Department of Geography, Planning, and Environment, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 September 2017 / Revised: 19 November 2017 / Accepted: 20 November 2017 / Published: 22 November 2017
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Abstract

The leaf area density (LAD) within a tree canopy is very important for the understanding and modeling of photosynthetic studies of the tree. Terrestrial light detection and ranging (LiDAR) has been applied to obtain the three-dimensional structural properties of vegetation and estimate the LAD. However, there is concern about the efficiency of available approaches. Thus, the objective of this study was to develop an effective means for the LAD estimation of the canopy of individual magnolia trees using high-resolution terrestrial LiDAR data. The normal difference method based on the differences in the structures of the leaf and non-leaf components of trees was proposed and used to segment leaf point clouds. The vertical LAD profiles were estimated using the voxel-based canopy profiling (VCP) model. The influence of voxel size on the LAD estimation was analyzed. The leaf point cloud’s extraction accuracy for two magnolia trees was 86.53% and 84.63%, respectively. Compared with the ground measured leaf area index (LAI), the retrieved accuracy was 99.9% and 90.7%, respectively. The LAD (as well as LAI) was highly sensitive to the voxel size. The spatial resolution of point clouds should be the appropriate estimator for the voxel size in the VCP model. View Full-Text
Keywords: leaf area density; terrestrial LiDAR; tree canopy; vertical structure; voxel leaf area density; terrestrial LiDAR; tree canopy; vertical structure; voxel
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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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Li, S.; Dai, L.; Wang, H.; Wang, Y.; He, Z.; Lin, S. Estimating Leaf Area Density of Individual Trees Using the Point Cloud Segmentation of Terrestrial LiDAR Data and a Voxel-Based Model. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 1202.

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