Skip to Main Content
Remotely sensed measurements of forest structure and fuel loads in the Pinelands of New JerseyAuthor(s): Nicholas Skowronski; Kenneth Clark; Ross Nelson; John Hom; Matt Patterson
Source: Remote Sensing of Environment. 108: 123-129.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (895.64 KB)
DescriptionWe used a single-beam, first return profiling LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) measurements of canopy height, intensive biometric measurements in plots, and Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data to quantify forest structure and ladder fuels (defined as vertical fuel continuity between the understory and canopy) in the New Jersey Pinelands. The LIDAR data were recorded at 400 Hz over three intensive areas of 1 km2 where transects were spaced at 200 m, and along 64 transects spaced 1 km apart (total of ca. 2500 km2). LIDAR and field measurements of canopy height were similar in the three intensive study areas, with the 80th percentile of LIDAR returns explaining the greatest amount of variability (79%). Correlations between LIDAR data and aboveground tree biomass measured in the field were highly significant when all three 1 km2 areas were analyzed collectively, with the 80th percentile again explaining the greatest amount of variability (74%). However, when intensive areas were analyzed separately, correlations were poor for Oak/Pine and Pine/Scrub Oak stands. Similar results were obtained using FIA data; at the landscape scale, mean canopy height was positively correlated with aboveground tree biomass, but when forest types were analyzed separately, correlations were significant only for some wetland forests (Pitch Pine lowlands and mixed hardwoods; r2=0.74 and 0.59, respectively), and correlations were poor for upland forests (Oak/Pine, Pine/Oak and Pine/Scrub Oak, r2=0.33, 0.11 and 0.21, respectively). When LIDAR data were binned into 1-m height classes, more LIDAR pulses were recorded from the lowest height classes in stands with greater shrub biomass, and significant differences were detected between stands where recent prescribed fire treatments had been conducted and unburned areas. Our research indicates that single-beam LIDAR can be used for regional-scale (forest biomass) estimates, but that relationships between height and biomass can be poorer at finer scales within individual forest types. Binned data are useful for estimating the presence of ladder fuels (vertical continuity of leaves and branches) and horizontal fuel continuity below the canopy.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, firstname.lastname@example.org if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationSkowronski, Nicholas; Clark, Kenneth; Nelson, Ross; Hom, John; Patterson, Matt. 2007. Remotely sensed measurements of forest structure and fuel loads in the Pinelands of New Jersey. Remote Sensing of Environment. 108: 123-129.
Keywordssingle-beam LIDAR, forest biomass, ladder fuels, fuel loads
- Eastern whip-poor-will breeding ecology in relation to habitat management in a pitch pine-scrub oak barren
- Effects of fuel reduction on birds in pitch pine–scrub oak barrens of the United States
- Fuels Management and Habitat Restoration Activities Benefit Eastern Hognose Snakes (Heterodon platirhinos) in a Disturbance-Dependent Ecosystem
XML: View XML