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Special Issue "Aerial and Near-Field Remote Sensing Developments in Forestry"

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Remote Sensing".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Lin Cao

Department of Forest Resources Management, Faculty of Forestry, Nanjing Forestry University, No. 159 Lonpang Road, Nanjing 210037, China
Website | E-Mail
Interests: LiDAR applications in forest inventory and management; UAV and their point cloud processing; forest biomass estimation; forest change detection; tree species classification; subtropical forest ecology; ecological modelling; wildlife habitat
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Nicholas Coops

Department of Forest Resources Management, The University of British Columbia, 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Active and Passive remote sensing technologies for biodiversity assessment, Forest structure, species diversity and richness, Long Time Series Satellite Data, Dynamic Habitat Index
Guest Editor
Mr. Tristan Goodbody

Department of Forest Resources Management, The University of British Columbia, 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Interests: forest inventories; UAV; digital photogrammetry; photogrammetric point clouds

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The past decade has seen an explosion in the availability of highly detailed, remotely sensed information on forestry structure and function. This data revolution has resulted from the widespread use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drone technologies, the miniaturization of computing and sensor equipment, advances in digital photogrammetric techniques and an improved understanding of how changing spectra and 3D structure can inform our understanding of key forest attributes such as tree dimensions, growth and stand conditions, and characteristics.

Accommodating these acquisition advancements, open source software, cloud computing, and big data allow these datasets to be innovatively processed and linked to other airborne and satellite datasets, which, when integrated intelligently, have the potential to address many of the environmental issues of our time.

This special issue addresses the advancement of these technologies, specifically for forestry applications, be it with forestry production or conservation foci. We encourage papers in the application of 3D technologies such as LiDAR and Photogrammetric Point Clouds (PPS) from UAV/drones from above, or, within the canopy, hand-held or ground-based devices. We encourage papers on the integration of these data with other complementary datasets such as conventional ALS or satellite observations.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Lin Cao
Prof. Dr. Nicholas Coops
Mr. Tristan Goodbody
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • forestry attributes
  • tree and stand volume
  • unmanned aerial vehicles
  • digital aerial photogrammetry
  • photogrammetric point clouds
  • airborne laser scanning
  • terrestrial LiDAR
  • species assessment
  • tree condition
  • plantation forestry

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Examining the Multi-Seasonal Consistency of Individual Tree Segmentation on Deciduous Stands Using Digital Aerial Photogrammetry (DAP) and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(7), 739; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11070739
Received: 20 February 2019 / Revised: 22 March 2019 / Accepted: 23 March 2019 / Published: 27 March 2019
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Abstract
Digital aerial photogrammetric (DAP) techniques applied to unmanned aerial system (UAS) acquired imagery have the potential to offer timely and affordable data for monitoring and updating forest inventories. Development of methods for individual tree crown detection (ITCD) and delineation enables the development of [...] Read more.
Digital aerial photogrammetric (DAP) techniques applied to unmanned aerial system (UAS) acquired imagery have the potential to offer timely and affordable data for monitoring and updating forest inventories. Development of methods for individual tree crown detection (ITCD) and delineation enables the development of individual tree-based, rather than stand based inventories, which are important for harvesting operations, biomass and carbon stock estimations, forest damage assessment, and forest monitoring in mixed species stands. To achieve these inventory goals, consistent and robust DAP estimates are required over time. Currently, the influence of seasonal changes in deciduous tree structure on the consistency of DAP point clouds, from which tree-based inventories can be derived, is unknown. In this study, we investigate the influence of the timing of DAP acquisition on ITCD accuracies and estimation of tree attributes for a deciduous-dominated forest stand in New Brunswick, Canada. UAS imagery was acquired five times between June and September 2017 over the same stand and consistently processed into DAP point clouds. Airborne laser scanning (ALS) data, acquired the same year, was used to reconstruct a digital terrain model (DTM) and served as a reference for UAS-DAP-based ITCD. Marker-controlled watershed segmentation (MCWS) was used to delineate individual tree crowns. Accuracy index percentages between 55% (July 25) and 77.1% (September 22) were achieved. Omission errors were found to be relatively high for the first three DAP acquisitions (June 7, July 5, and July 25) and decreased gradually thereafter. The commission error was relatively high on July 25. Point cloud metrics were found to be predominantly consistent over the 4-month period, however, estimated tree heights gradually decreased over time, suggesting a trade-off between ITCD accuracies and measured tree heights. Our findings provide insight into the potential influence of seasonality on DAP-ITCD approaches to derive individual tree inventories. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aerial and Near-Field Remote Sensing Developments in Forestry)
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Open AccessArticle
A 3D Point Cloud Filtering Method for Leaves Based on Manifold Distance and Normal Estimation
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(2), 198; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11020198
Received: 11 December 2018 / Revised: 17 January 2019 / Accepted: 17 January 2019 / Published: 20 January 2019
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3768 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Leaves are used extensively as an indicator in research on tree growth. Leaf area, as one of the most important index in leaf morphology, is also a comprehensive growth index for evaluating the effects of environmental factors. When scanning tree surfaces using a [...] Read more.
Leaves are used extensively as an indicator in research on tree growth. Leaf area, as one of the most important index in leaf morphology, is also a comprehensive growth index for evaluating the effects of environmental factors. When scanning tree surfaces using a 3D laser scanner, the scanned point cloud data usually contain many outliers and noise. These outliers can be clusters or sparse points, whereas the noise is usually non-isolated but exhibits different attributes from valid points. In this study, a 3D point cloud filtering method for leaves based on manifold distance and normal estimation is proposed. First, leaf was extracted from the tree point cloud and initial clustering was performed as the preprocessing step. Second, outlier clusters filtering and outlier points filtering were successively performed using a manifold distance and truncation method. Third, noise points in each cluster were filtered based on the local surface normal estimation. The 3D reconstruction results of leaves after applying the proposed filtering method prove that this method outperforms other classic filtering methods. Comparisons of leaf areas with real values and area assessments of the mean absolute error (MAE) and mean absolute error percent (MAE%) for leaves in different levels were also conducted. The root mean square error (RMSE) for leaf area was 2.49 cm2. The MAE values for small leaves, medium leaves and large leaves were 0.92 cm2, 1.05 cm2 and 3.39 cm2, respectively, with corresponding MAE% values of 10.63, 4.83 and 3.8. These results demonstrate that the method proposed can be used to filter outliers and noise for 3D point clouds of leaves and improve 3D leaf visualization authenticity and leaf area measurement accuracy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aerial and Near-Field Remote Sensing Developments in Forestry)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Evaluation of Ground Surface Models Derived from Unmanned Aerial Systems with Digital Aerial Photogrammetry in a Disturbed Conifer Forest
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(1), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11010084
Received: 15 November 2018 / Revised: 11 December 2018 / Accepted: 27 December 2018 / Published: 4 January 2019
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (5028 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Detailed vertical forest structure information can be remotely sensed by combining technologies of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and digital aerial photogrammetry (DAP). A key limitation in the application of DAP methods, however, is the inability to produce accurate digital elevation models (DEM) in [...] Read more.
Detailed vertical forest structure information can be remotely sensed by combining technologies of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and digital aerial photogrammetry (DAP). A key limitation in the application of DAP methods, however, is the inability to produce accurate digital elevation models (DEM) in areas of dense vegetation. This study investigates the terrain modeling potential of UAS-DAP methods within a temperate conifer forest in British Columbia, Canada. UAS-acquired images were photogrammetrically processed to produce high-resolution DAP point clouds. To evaluate the terrain modeling ability of DAP, first, a sensitivity analysis was conducted to estimate optimal parameters of three ground-point classification algorithms designed for airborne laser scanning (ALS). Algorithms tested include progressive triangulated irregular network (TIN) densification (PTD), hierarchical robust interpolation (HRI) and simple progressive morphological filtering (SMRF). Points were classified as ground from the ALS and served as ground-truth data to which UAS-DAP derived DEMs were compared. The proportion of area with root mean square error (RMSE) <1.5 m were 56.5%, 51.6% and 52.3% for the PTD, HRI and SMRF methods respectively. To assess the influence of terrain slope and canopy cover, error values of DAP-DEMs produced using optimal parameters were compared to stratified classes of canopy cover and slope generated from ALS point clouds. Results indicate that canopy cover was approximately three times more influential on RMSE than terrain slope. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aerial and Near-Field Remote Sensing Developments in Forestry)
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Open AccessArticle
Extraction of Leaf Biophysical Attributes Based on a Computer Graphic-based Algorithm Using Terrestrial Laser Scanning Data
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11010015
Received: 23 October 2018 / Revised: 3 December 2018 / Accepted: 18 December 2018 / Published: 21 December 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (9281 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Leaf attribute estimation is crucial for understanding photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration, and carbon and nutrient cycling in vegetation and evaluating the biological parameters of plants or forests. Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) has the capability to provide detailed characterisations of individual trees at both the [...] Read more.
Leaf attribute estimation is crucial for understanding photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration, and carbon and nutrient cycling in vegetation and evaluating the biological parameters of plants or forests. Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) has the capability to provide detailed characterisations of individual trees at both the branch and leaf scales and to extract accurate structural parameters of stems and crowns. In this paper, we developed a computer graphic-based 3D point cloud segmentation approach for accurately and efficiently detecting tree leaves and their morphological features (i.e., leaf area and leaf angle distributions (leaf azimuthal angle and leaf inclination angle)) from single leaves. To this end, we adopted a sphere neighbourhood model with an adaptive radius to extract the central area points of individual leaves with different morphological structures and complex spatial distributions; meanwhile, four auxiliary criteria were defined to ensure the accuracy of the extracted central area points of individual leaf surfaces. Then, the density-based spatial clustering of applications with noise (DBSCAN) algorithm was used to cluster the central area points of leaves and to obtain the centre point corresponding to each leaf surface. We also achieved segmentation of individual leaf blades using an advanced 3D watershed algorithm based on the extracted centre point of each leaf surface and two morphology-related parameters. Finally, the leaf attributes (leaf area and leaf angle distributions) were calculated and assessed by analysing the segmented single-leaf point cloud. To validate the final results, the actual leaf area, leaf inclination and azimuthal angle data of designated leaves on the experimental trees were manually measured during field activities. In addition, a sensitivity analysis investigated the effect of the parameters in our segmentation algorithm. The results demonstrated that the segmentation accuracy of Ehretia macrophylla (94.0%) was higher than that of crape myrtle (90.6%) and Fatsia japonica (88.8%). The segmentation accuracy of Fatsia japonica was the lowest of the three experimental trees. In addition, the single-leaf area estimation accuracy for Ehretia macrophylla (95.39%) was still the highest among the three experimental trees, and the single-leaf area estimation accuracy for crape myrtle (91.92%) was lower than that for Ehretia macrophylla (95.39%) and Fatsia japonica (92.48%). Third, the method proposed in this paper provided accurate leaf inclination and azimuthal angles for the three experimental trees (Ehretia macrophylla: leaf inclination angle: R 2 = 0.908, RMSE = 6.806° and leaf azimuth angle: R 2 = 0.981, RMSE = 7.680°; crape myrtle: leaf inclination angle: R 2 = 0.901, RMSE = 8.365° and leaf azimuth angle: R 2 = 0.938, RMSE = 7.573°; Fatsia japonica: leaf inclination angle: R 2 = 0.849, RMSE = 6.158° and leaf azimuth angle: R 2 = 0.947, RMSE = 3.946°). The results indicate that the proposed method is effective and operational for providing accurate, detailed information on single leaves and vegetation structure from scanned data. This capability facilitates improvements in applications such as the estimation of leaf area, leaf angle distribution and biomass. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aerial and Near-Field Remote Sensing Developments in Forestry)
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Open AccessArticle
An Automated Hierarchical Approach for Three-Dimensional Segmentation of Single Trees Using UAV LiDAR Data
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(12), 1999; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10121999
Received: 5 November 2018 / Revised: 4 December 2018 / Accepted: 8 December 2018 / Published: 10 December 2018
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Abstract
Forests play a key role in terrestrial ecosystems, and the variables extracted from single trees can be used in various fields and applications for evaluating forest production and assessing forest ecosystem services. In this study, we developed an automated hierarchical single-tree segmentation approach [...] Read more.
Forests play a key role in terrestrial ecosystems, and the variables extracted from single trees can be used in various fields and applications for evaluating forest production and assessing forest ecosystem services. In this study, we developed an automated hierarchical single-tree segmentation approach based on the high density three-dimensional (3D) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) point clouds. First, this approach obtains normalized non-ground UAV points in data preprocessing; then, a voxel-based mean shift algorithm is used to roughly classify the non-ground UAV points into well-detected and under-segmentation clusters. Moreover, potential tree apices for each under-segmentation cluster are obtained with regard to profile shape curves and finally input to the normalized cut segmentation (NCut) algorithm to segment iteratively the under-segmentation cluster into single trees. We evaluated the proposed method using datasets acquired by a Velodyne 16E LiDAR system mounted on a multi-rotor UAV. The results showed that the proposed method achieves the average correctness, completeness, and overall accuracy of 0.90, 0.88, and 0.89, respectively, in delineating single trees. Comparative analysis demonstrated that our method provided a promising solution to reliable and robust segmentation of single trees from UAV LiDAR data with high point cloud density. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aerial and Near-Field Remote Sensing Developments in Forestry)
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Open AccessArticle
Aboveground Tree Biomass Estimation of Sparse Subalpine Coniferous Forest with UAV Oblique Photography
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(11), 1849; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10111849
Received: 20 August 2018 / Revised: 12 November 2018 / Accepted: 16 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (7659 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In tree Aboveground Biomass (AGB) estimation, the traditional harvest method is accurate but unsuitable for a large-scale forest. The airborne Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) is superior in obtaining the point cloud data of a dense forest and extracting tree heights for AGB [...] Read more.
In tree Aboveground Biomass (AGB) estimation, the traditional harvest method is accurate but unsuitable for a large-scale forest. The airborne Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) is superior in obtaining the point cloud data of a dense forest and extracting tree heights for AGB estimation. However, the LiDAR has limitations such as high cost, low efficiency, and complicated operations. Alternatively, the overlapping oblique photographs taken by an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)-loaded digital camera can also generate point cloud data using the Aerial Triangulation (AT) method. However, limited by the relatively poor penetrating capacity of natural light, the photographs captured by the digital camera on a UAV are more suitable for obtaining the point cloud data of a relatively sparse forest. In this paper, an electric fixed-wing UAV loaded with a digital camera was employed to take oblique photographs of a sparse subalpine coniferous forest in the source region of the Minjiang River. Based on point cloud data obtained from the overlapping photographs, a Digital Terrain Model (DTM) was generated by filtering non-ground points along with the acquisition of a Digital Surface Model (DSM) of Minjiang fir trees by eliminating subalpine shrubs and meadows. Individual tree heights were extracted by overlaying individual tree outlines on Canopy Height Model (CHM) data computed by subtracting the Digital Elevation Model (DEM) from the rasterized DSM. The allometric equation with tree height (H) as the predictor variable was established by fitting measured tree heights with tree AGBs, which were estimated using the allometric equation on H and Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) in sample tree plots. Finally, the AGBs of all of the trees in the test site were determined by inputting extracted individual tree heights into the established allometric equation. In accuracy assessment, the coefficient of determination (R2) and Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) of extracted individual tree heights were 0.92 and 1.77 m, and the R2 and RMSE of the estimated AGBs of individual trees were 0.96 and 54.90 kg. The results demonstrated the feasibility and effectiveness of applying UAV-acquired oblique optical photographs to the tree AGB estimation of sparse subalpine coniferous forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aerial and Near-Field Remote Sensing Developments in Forestry)
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Open AccessArticle
Estimating Tree Position, Diameter at Breast Height, and Tree Height in Real-Time Using a Mobile Phone with RGB-D SLAM
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(11), 1845; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10111845
Received: 8 October 2018 / Revised: 1 November 2018 / Accepted: 19 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (11805 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Accurate estimation of tree position, diameter at breast height (DBH), and tree height measurements is an important task in forest inventory. Mobile Laser Scanning (MLS) is an important solution. However, the poor global navigation satellite system (GNSS) coverage under the canopy makes the [...] Read more.
Accurate estimation of tree position, diameter at breast height (DBH), and tree height measurements is an important task in forest inventory. Mobile Laser Scanning (MLS) is an important solution. However, the poor global navigation satellite system (GNSS) coverage under the canopy makes the MLS system unable to provide globally-consistent point cloud data, and thus, it cannot accurately estimate the forest attributes. SLAM could be an alternative for solutions dependent on GNSS. In this paper, a mobile phone with RGB-D SLAM was used to estimate tree position, DBH, and tree height in real-time. The main aims of this paper include (1) designing an algorithm to estimate the DBH and position of the tree using the point cloud from the time-of-flight (TOF) camera and camera pose; (2) designing an algorithm to measure tree height using the perspective projection principle of a camera and the camera pose; and (3) showing the measurement results to the observer using augmented reality (AR) technology to allow the observer to intuitively judge the accuracy of the measurement results and re-estimate the measurement results if needed. The device was tested in nine square plots with 12 m sides. The tree position estimations were unbiased and had a root mean square error (RMSE) of 0.12 m in both the x-axis and y-axis directions; the DBH estimations had a 0.33 cm (1.78%) BIAS and a 1.26 cm (6.39%) root mean square error (RMSE); the tree height estimations had a 0.15 m (1.08%) BIAS and a 1.11 m (7.43%) RMSE. The results showed that the mobile phone with RGB-D SLAM is a potential tool for obtaining accurate measurements of tree position, DBH, and tree height. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aerial and Near-Field Remote Sensing Developments in Forestry)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluating Carbon Sequestration and PM2.5 Removal of Urban Street Trees Using Mobile Laser Scanning Data
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(11), 1759; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10111759
Received: 28 September 2018 / Revised: 28 October 2018 / Accepted: 4 November 2018 / Published: 7 November 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (10435 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Street trees are an important part of urban facilities, and they can provide both aesthetic benefits and ecological benefits for urban environments. Ecological benefits of street trees now are attracting more attention because of environmental deterioration in cities. Conventional methods of evaluating ecological [...] Read more.
Street trees are an important part of urban facilities, and they can provide both aesthetic benefits and ecological benefits for urban environments. Ecological benefits of street trees now are attracting more attention because of environmental deterioration in cities. Conventional methods of evaluating ecological benefits require a lot of labor and time, and establishing an efficient and effective evaluating method is challenging. In this study, we investigated the feasibility to use mobile laser scanning (MLS) data to evaluate carbon sequestration and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) removal of street trees. We explored the approach to extract individual street trees from MLS data, and street trees of three streets in Nantong City were extracted. The correctness rates and completeness rates of extraction results were both over 92%. Morphological parameters, including tree height, crown width, and diameter at breast height (DBH), were measured for extracted street trees, and parameters derived from MLS data were in a good agreement with field-measured parameters. Necessary information about street trees, including tree height, DBH, and tree species, meteorological data and PM2.5 deposition velocities were imported into i-Tree Eco model to estimate carbon sequestration and PM2.5 removal. The estimation results indicated that ecological benefits generated by different tree species were considerably varied and the differences for trees of the same species were mainly caused by the differences in morphological parameters (tree height and DBH). This study succeeds in estimating the amount of carbon sequestration and PM2.5 removal of individual street trees with MLS data, and provides researchers with a novel and efficient way to investigate ecological benefits of urban street trees or urban forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aerial and Near-Field Remote Sensing Developments in Forestry)
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Open AccessArticle
Vegetation Phenology Driving Error Variation in Digital Aerial Photogrammetrically Derived Terrain Models
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(10), 1554; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10101554
Received: 22 August 2018 / Revised: 19 September 2018 / Accepted: 21 September 2018 / Published: 27 September 2018
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (6608 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Digital aerial photogrammetry (DAP) and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) have emerged as synergistic technologies capable of enhancing forest inventory information. A known limitation of DAP technology is its ability to derive terrain surfaces in areas with moderate to high vegetation coverage. In this [...] Read more.
Digital aerial photogrammetry (DAP) and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) have emerged as synergistic technologies capable of enhancing forest inventory information. A known limitation of DAP technology is its ability to derive terrain surfaces in areas with moderate to high vegetation coverage. In this study, we sought to investigate the influence of flight acquisition timing on the accuracy and coverage of digital terrain models (DTM) in a low cover forest area in New Brunswick, Canada. To do so, a multi-temporal UAS-acquired DAP data set was used. Acquired imagery was photogrammetrically processed to produce high quality DAP point clouds, from which DTMs were derived. Individual DTMs were evaluated for error using an airborne laser scanning (ALS)-derived DTM as a reference. Unobstructed road areas were used to validate DAP DTM error. Generalized additive mixed models (GAMM) were generated to assess the significance of acquisition timing on mean vegetation cover, DTM error, and proportional DAP coverage. GAMM models for mean vegetation cover and DTM error were found to be significantly influenced by acquisition date. A best available terrain pixel (BATP) compositing exercise was conducted to generate a best possible UAS DAP-derived DTM and outline the importance of flight acquisition timing. The BATP DTM yielded a mean error of −0.01 m. This study helps to show that the timing of DAP acquisitions can influence the accuracy and coverage of DTMs in low cover vegetation areas. These findings provide insight to improve future data set quality and provide a means for managers to cost-effectively derive high accuracy terrain models post-management activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aerial and Near-Field Remote Sensing Developments in Forestry)
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Open AccessArticle
Mapping Individual Tree Species and Vitality along Urban Road Corridors with LiDAR and Imaging Sensors: Point Density versus View Perspective
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(9), 1403; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10091403
Received: 20 July 2018 / Revised: 21 August 2018 / Accepted: 28 August 2018 / Published: 3 September 2018
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (4986 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To meet a growing demand for accurate high-fidelity vegetation cover mapping in urban areas toward biodiversity conservation and assessing the impact of climate change, this paper proposes a complete approach to species and vitality classification at single tree level by synergistic use of [...] Read more.
To meet a growing demand for accurate high-fidelity vegetation cover mapping in urban areas toward biodiversity conservation and assessing the impact of climate change, this paper proposes a complete approach to species and vitality classification at single tree level by synergistic use of multimodality 3D remote sensing data. So far, airborne laser scanning system(ALS or airborne LiDAR) has shown promising results in tree cover mapping for urban areas. This paper analyzes the potential of mobile laser scanning system/mobile mapping system (MLS/MMS)-based methods for recognition of urban plant species and characterization of growth conditions using ultra-dense LiDAR point clouds and provides an objective comparison with the ALS-based methods. Firstly, to solve the extremely intensive computational burden caused by the classification of ultra-dense MLS data, a new method for the semantic labeling of LiDAR data in the urban road environment is developed based on combining a conditional random field (CRF) for the context-based classification of 3D point clouds with shape priors. These priors encode geometric primitives found in the scene through sample consensus segmentation. Then, single trees are segmented from the labelled tree points using the 3D graph cuts algorithm. Multinomial logistic regression classifiers are used to determine the fine deciduous urban tree species of conversation concern and their growth vitality. Finally, the weight-of-evidence (WofE) based decision fusion method is applied to combine the probability outputs of classification results from the MLS and ALS data. The experiment results obtained in city road corridors demonstrated that point cloud data acquired from the airborne platform achieved even slightly better results in terms of tree detection rate, tree species and vitality classification accuracy, although the tree vitality distribution in the test site is less balanced compared to the species distribution. When combined with MLS data, overall accuracies of 78% and 74% for tree species and vitality classification can be achieved, which has improved by 5.7% and 4.64% respectively compared to the usage of airborne data only. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aerial and Near-Field Remote Sensing Developments in Forestry)
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Open AccessArticle
Extraction of Sample Plot Parameters from 3D Point Cloud Reconstruction Based on Combined RTK and CCD Continuous Photography
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(8), 1299; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10081299
Received: 19 July 2018 / Revised: 13 August 2018 / Accepted: 13 August 2018 / Published: 17 August 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (6321 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Enriching forest resource inventory is important to ensure the sustainable management of forest ecosystems. Obtaining forest inventory data from the field has always been difficult, laborious, time consuming, and expensive. Advances in integrating photogrammetry and computer vision have helped researchers develop some numeric [...] Read more.
Enriching forest resource inventory is important to ensure the sustainable management of forest ecosystems. Obtaining forest inventory data from the field has always been difficult, laborious, time consuming, and expensive. Advances in integrating photogrammetry and computer vision have helped researchers develop some numeric algorithms and methods that can turn 2D (images) into 3D (point clouds) and are highly applicable to forestry. This paper aimed to develop a new, highly accurate methodology that extracts sample plot parameters based on continuous terrestrial photogrammetry. For this purpose, we designed and implemented a terrestrial observation instrument combining real-time kinematic (RTK) and charge-coupled device (CCD) continuous photography. Then, according to the set observation plan, three independent experimental plots were continuously photographed and the 3D point cloud of the plot was generated. From this 3D point cloud, the tree position coordinates, tree DBHs, tree heights, and other plot characteristics of the forest were extracted. The plot characteristics obtained from the 3D point cloud were compared with the measurement data obtained from the field to check the accuracy of our methodology. We obtained the position coordinates of the trees with the positioning accuracy (RMSE) of 0.162 m to 0.201 m. The relative root mean square error (rRMSE) of the trunk diameter measurements was 3.07% to 4.51%, which met the accuracy requirements of traditional forestry surveys. The hypsometrical measurements were due to the occlusion of the forest canopy and the estimated rRMSE was 11.26% to 11.91%, which is still good reference data. Furthermore, these image-based point cloud data also have portable observation instruments, low data collection costs, high field measurement efficiency, automatic data processing, and they can directly extract tree geographic location information, which may be interesting and important for certain applications such as the protection of registered famous trees. For forest inventory, continuous terrestrial photogrammetry with its unique advantages is a solution that deserves future attention in the field of tree detection and ecological construction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aerial and Near-Field Remote Sensing Developments in Forestry)
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Open AccessArticle
Detection of Shoot Beetle Stress on Yunnan Pine Forest Using a Coupled LIBERTY2-INFORM Simulation
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1133; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071133
Received: 2 July 2018 / Accepted: 10 July 2018 / Published: 18 July 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1981 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Yunnan pine shoot beetles (PSB), Tomicus yunnanensis and Tomicus minor have spread through southwestern China in the last five years, leading to millions of hectares of forest being damaged. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop an effective approach for accurate early [...] Read more.
Yunnan pine shoot beetles (PSB), Tomicus yunnanensis and Tomicus minor have spread through southwestern China in the last five years, leading to millions of hectares of forest being damaged. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop an effective approach for accurate early warning and damage assessment of PSB outbreaks. Remote sensing is one of the most efficient methods for this purpose. Despite many studies existing on the mountain pine beetle (MPB), very little work has been undertaken on assessing PSB stress using remote sensing. The objective of this paper was to develop a spectral linear mixing model aided by radiative transfer (RT) and a new Yellow Index (YI) to simulate the reflectance of heterogeneous canopies containing damaged needles and quantitatively inverse their PSB stress. The YI, the fraction of dead needles, is a physically-explicit stress indicator that represents the plot shoots damage ratio (plot SDR). The major steps of this methods include: (1) LIBERTY2 was developed to simulate the reflectance of damaged needles using YI to linearly mix the green needle spectra with the dead needle spectra; (2) LIBERTY2 was coupled with the INFORM model to scale the needle spectra to the canopy scale; and (3) a look-up table (LUT) was created against Sentinel 2 (S2) imagery and inversed leaf chlorophyll content (LCC), green leaf area index (LAI) and plot SDR. The results show that (1) LIBERTY2 effectively simulated the reflectance spectral values on infested needles (mean relative error (MRE) = 1.4–18%), and the YI can indicate the degrees of needles damage; (2) the coupled LIBERTY2-INFORM model is suitable to estimate LAI (R2 = 0.73, RMSE = 0.17 m m−2, NRMSE = 11.41% and the index of agreement (IOA) = 0.92) and LCC (R2 = 0.49, RMSE = 56.24 mg m−2, NRMSE = 25.22% and IOA = 0.72), and is better than the original LIBERTY model (LAI: R2 = 0.38, RMSE = 0.43 m m−2, NRMSE = 28.85% and IOA = 0.68; LCC: R2 = 0.34, RMSE = 76.44 mg m−2, NRMSE = 34.23% and IOA = 0.57); and (3) the inversed YI is positively correlated with the measured plot SDR (R2 = 0.40, RMSE = 0.15). We conclude that the LIBERTY2 model improved the reflectance simulation accuracy of both the needles and canopies, making it suitable for assessing PSB stress. The YI has the potential to assess PSB damage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aerial and Near-Field Remote Sensing Developments in Forestry)
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Open AccessArticle
Application of a Continuous Terrestrial Photogrammetric Measurement System for Plot Monitoring in the Beijing Songshan National Nature Reserve
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1080; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071080
Received: 29 May 2018 / Revised: 29 June 2018 / Accepted: 5 July 2018 / Published: 6 July 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (85442 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Monitoring sample areas is the basis of ecological management. Songshan National Nature Reserve is one of the most important components of the ecosystem of the central metropolitan area of Beijing, and has fallen behind in its monitoring technology and methods. So, updating the [...] Read more.
Monitoring sample areas is the basis of ecological management. Songshan National Nature Reserve is one of the most important components of the ecosystem of the central metropolitan area of Beijing, and has fallen behind in its monitoring technology and methods. So, updating the existing equipment and technology is necessary. The current system suffers from high equipment costs and is not convenient to carry, so the work efficiency is low. Furthermore, the data cannot be visualized in three dimensions (3D), and complex terrain conditions cannot be measured. Therefore, this study researched and developed a continuous terrestrial photogrammetric measurement system that is theoretically based on the principles of photogrammetry, image processing technology, and dendrometry. The system applies a self-developed personal digital assistant (PDA) photogrammetry-based dendrometer and software to continuously evaluate stand sampling areas. Through experimental verification, the relative root mean square error (RMSE) of the trunk diameter measurements was found to be 5.59%, and the relative RMSE of hypsometrical measurements was 3.93%, which are both higher than the accuracy required for traditional forestry surveys. Furthermore, the advantages of this system include its low cost, lightweight equipment, easy operation, high measurement efficiency, 3D visualization, and applicability under complex terrain conditions. Since it is highly accurate and efficient, the continuous terrestrial photogrammetric system can be easily applied to monitor stand sampling areas in Songshan National Nature Reserve. In addition, it can be applied to second-class forest surveys in China, thus guaranteeing the monitoring of big data for the ecological environment of China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aerial and Near-Field Remote Sensing Developments in Forestry)
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