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    Description

    Ecologists need data on animal–habitat associations in terrestrial and aquatic environments to design and implement effective conservation strategies. Habitat characteristics used in models typically incorporate (1) field data of limited spatial extent and/or (2) remote sensing data that do not characterize the vertical habitat structure. Remote sensing tools that directly characterize three-dimensional (3-D) habitat structure and that provide data relevant to organism–habitat interactions across a hierarchy of scales promise to improve our understanding of animal–habitat relationships. Laser altimetry, commonly called light detection and ranging (lidar), is a source of geospatial data that can provide fine-grained information about the 3-D structure of ecosystems across broad spatial extents. In this review, we present a brief overview of lidar technology, discuss recent applications of lidar data in investigations of animal–habitat relationships, and propose future applications of this technology to issues of broad species-management and conservation interest.

    Publication Notes

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Vierling,Kerri T.; Vierling,Lee A.; Gould,William A.; Martinuzzi,Sebastian; Clawges,Rick M. 2008. Lidar: shedding new light on habitat characterization and modeling. Front Ecol Environ, 6

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    Keywords

    Lidar, Point clouds, Poecile palustris. Hinsley

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