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Weighing trees with lasers: advances, challenges and opportunities

Disney, MI; Vicari, MB; Burt, A; Calders, K; Lewis, SL; Raumonen, P; Wilkes, P; (2018) Weighing trees with lasers: advances, challenges and opportunities. Interface Focus , 8 (2) , Article 20170048. 10.1098/rsfs.2017.0048. Green open access

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Abstract

Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) is providing exciting new ways to quantify tree and forest structure, particularly above-ground biomass (AGB). We show how TLS can address some of the key uncertainties and limitations of current approaches to estimating AGB based on empirical allometric scaling equations (ASEs) that underpin all large-scale estimates of AGB. TLS provides extremely detailed non-destructive measurements of tree form independent of tree size and shape. We show examples of three-dimensional (3D) TLS measurements from various tropical and temperate forests and describe how the resulting TLS point clouds can be used to produce quantitative 3D models of branch and trunk size, shape and distribution. These models can drastically improve estimates of AGB, provide new, improved large-scale ASEs, and deliver insights into a range of fundamental tree properties related to structure. Large quantities of detailed measurements of individual 3D tree structure also have the potential to open new and exciting avenues of research in areas where difficulties of measurement have until now prevented statistical approaches to detecting and understanding underlying patterns of scaling, form and function. We discuss these opportunities and some of the challenges that remain to be overcome to enable wider adoption of TLS methods.

Type: Article
Title: Weighing trees with lasers: advances, challenges and opportunities
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rsfs.2017.0048
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsfs.2017.0048
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Biology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine - Other Topics, above-ground biomass, terrestrial laser scanning, lidar, canopy, structure, buttress, FOREST BIOMASS ESTIMATION, ALLOMETRIC SCALING LAWS, TROPICAL FORESTS, WOOD DENSITY, ABOVEGROUND BIOMASS, TERRESTRIAL LIDAR, CARBON STOCKS, ERROR PROPAGATION, TEMPERATE FORESTS, CANOPY STRUCTURE
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10045436
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