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    Author(s): Rhonda Mazza; Demetrios Gatziolis
    Date: 2013
    Source: Science Findings 151. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 6 p.
    Publication Series: Science Findings
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (3.5 MB)


    Light detection and ranging (LiDAR), also known as airborne laser scanning, is a rapidly emerging technology for remote sensing. Used to help map, monitor, and assess natural resources, LiDAR data were first embraced by forestry professionals in Scandinavia as a tool for conducting forest inventories in the mid to late 1990s. Thus early LiDAR theory and applications were developed for commercial forests typical of a region with gentle topography; conditions far different from those of the temperate rain forests of the Pacific Northwest.

    To develop LiDAR data acquisition specifications and analysis methods specific to the Pacific Northwest, scientists with the Pacific Northwest Research Station improved calculations for local conditions. Their aim was to ensure that laser-based estimates of key forest inventory parameters such as vegetation height, and attributes such as volume and biomass were free from serious biases. Based on this research, recommendations for determining optimal LiDAR acquisition specifications have since been adopted as general specifications by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, which leads a consortium of laser data users in the state. These developments have been instrumental in making LiDAR a useful tool in forest management and planning within the region.

    Publication Notes

    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • 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.


    Mazza, Rhonda; Gatziolis, Demetrios. 2013. Demystifying LiDAR technologies for temperate rainforest in the Pacific Northwest. Science Findings 151. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 6 p.


    LiDAR, Pacific Northwest

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