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    Author(s): Wade T. Tinkham; Alistair M. S. Smith; David L. R. Affleck; Jarred D. Saralecos; Michael J. Falkowski; Chad M. Hoffman; Andrew T. Hudak; Michael A. Wulder
    Date: 2016
    Source: Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing. 42(5): 400-410.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (693.0 KB)


    Following typical forest inventory protocols, individual tree volume estimates are generally derived via diameter-at-breast-height (DBH)-based allometry. Although effective, measurement of DBH is time consuming and potentially a costly element in forest inventories. The capacity of airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR) to provide individual tree-level information poses options for estimating tree-level attributes to enhance the information content of forest inventories. LiDAR provides excellent height measurements and, given the physiologic scaling connection of plant height and volume, using individual tree height-volume relationships could overcome errors associated with the intermediate step of inferring DBH from LiDAR. In this study, 60 Abies grandis (grand fir: 6 cm-64 cm DBH) were destructively sampled to assess stem volume across the Intermountain West in order to develop individual tree height-to-stem volume relationships. Results show DBH (r2 > 0.98) and height (r2 > 0.94) are significantly (p < 0.001) related to stem volume via power relationships. LiDAR-derived heights provided a 12 % RMSE improvement in accuracy of individual tree volume over LiDAR-regressed DBH estimates. Comparing height-based estimates with an existing regional allometry by mapping stem volume in a grand fir-dominated stand yielded a 6.3 % difference in total volume. This study demonstrates LiDAR's potential to estimate individual stem volume at forest management scales, utilizing height-volume relationships.

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    Tinkham, Wade T.; Smith, Alistair M. S.; Affleck, David L. R.; Saralecos, Jarred D.; Falkowski, Michael J.; Hoffman, Chad M.; Hudak, Andrew T.; Wulder, Michael A. 2016. Development of height-volume relationships in second growth Abies grandis for use with aerial LiDAR. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing. 42(5): 400-410.


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    forest inventory, diameter-at-breast-height (DBH), light detection and ranging (LiDAR), grand fir, Abies grandis

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