With advances in both sensors and capture technology (including handheld and UAS scanning capabilities), the ability to understand forest composition has drastically improved. With the addition of artificial intelligence and algorithms specifically tuned to forestry and agriculture, the forest management industry is on the verge of a significant shift when it comes to understanding and targeting their management areas – down to a single tree. These case studies will showcase what's possible with these new technologies when applied to forestry management.
Exploring the Modernization of Forest Inventory Using High Density Lidar
Jennifer Corcoran, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
This presentation will provide an overview of the objectives and results of a forest inventory modeling study completed in northern Minnesota, which is now being implemented statewide thanks to partnerships and the successful roll-out of the Minnesota Lidar Plan. Overall, the project results showed that using high density lidar for forest inventory can cut inventory costs by about 55% (this includes both the cost of lidar and spatial analyses). This is accomplished while enabling other added values across all lands, including making the forest inventory data available much faster than traditional field-based methods. This collaborative and programmatic approach ultimately benefits many more agencies, organizations, and stakeholder groups who are hungry for an affordable way to modernize using high density lidar.
Optimizing LiDAR System Operation for Foliage Penetration
Ron Roth, Hexagon Geosystems
When acquiring LiDAR point clouds for determining various forest parameters, there are general rules-of-thumb for operating parameters such as off-nadir angle and laser footprint size to maximize penetration through tree cover. A recent study evaluates the use of several flight and system parameters that can be varied when using newer megahertz-pulse-rate LiDAR systems. These variables can allow trade-offs between such things as pulse energy and pulse rate to maximize the number of “hits” on the forest floor and thus obtain more detailed DEMs from which to evaluate forest parameters such as tree height. Measurement methods and results from recent testing will be discussed, giving guidance for practitioners to further maximize foliage penetration.
Seeing the Trees from the Forest
Andrew Brenner, NV5 Geospatial
Lidar has become a foundational dataset for forestry opening up insights that were previously impossible to quantify. As the point density of lidar collections increase it changes the way we can look at the forest. The combination of high density lidar, high resolution imagery and deep learning algorithms now allows the natural resource management community to look beyond the forest stand to the individual trees that constitute it. There are both advantages and risks to taking an individual tree approach to mapping and inventorying forests but the potential of the information unlocked is significant. It will allow forest managers the ability to understand the forest from the perspective of the tree and its inhabitants rather than just as a wood resource for human consumption. This talk will outline a couple of approaches to extrapolating from field plots to forests tracts using individual tree delineation techniques and where they would be most appropriately used.
Mobile Laser Data Collection in onjunction with VR Analysis for Forest Inventory
Susana Gonzalez Aracil, Interpine Group Ltd.
The way that we see, collect, and analyse forests is evolving, and having the power to collect high density LiDAR is going to change forest inventory for ever. Hand measurements have been the norm for many years and are still important, but the ability to have access to point clouds as a base to compute diameter, height and features with a couple of clicks is going to revolutionise Forest Inventory. Point cloud data, along with the computed diameters, heights and features can be loaded in Virtual Reality for quality control. Over the past two years, Interpine have implemented a workflow to collect, analyse, and check forest attributes for our clients.
Session moderated by Josh Nimetz, Senior Elevation Project Lead, USGS.
Session format includes presentations followed by an audience Q&A.