The Use of Terrestrial LiDAR Technology in Forest Science: Application Fields, Benefits and Challenges. Dassot, M.; Constant, T.; and Fournier, M. 68(5):959–974.
The Use of Terrestrial LiDAR Technology in Forest Science: Application Fields, Benefits and Challenges [link]Paper  doi  abstract   bibtex   
[Introduction] The use of terrestrial LiDAR (light detection and ranging) scanners in forest environments is being studied extensively at present due to the high potential of this technology to acquire three-dimensional data on standing trees rapidly and accurately. This article aims to establish the state-of-the-art in this emerging area. [Objectives] Terrestrial LiDAR has been applied to forest inventory measurements (plot cartography, species recognition, diameter at breast height, tree height, stem density, basal area and plot-level wood volume estimates) and canopy characterisation (virtual projections, gap fraction and three-dimensional foliage distribution). These techniques have been extended to stand value and wood quality assessment. Terrestrial LiDAR also provides new support for ecological applications such as the assessment of the physical properties of leaves, transpiration processes and microhabitat diversity. [Results] Since 2003, both the capabilities of the devices and data processing technology have improved significantly, with encouraging results. Nevertheless, measurement patterns and device specifications must be selected carefully according to the objectives of the study. Moreover, automated and reliable programmes are still required to process data to make these methodologies applicable specifically to the forest sciences and to fill the gap between time-consuming manual methods and wide-scale remote sensing such as airborne LiDAR scanning. [Excerpt: Conclusions] The aim of this article was to establish the state-of-the-art of the current applications of T-LiDAR technology in forest science, as well as to determine its applicability for its intended use. It appears that T-LiDAR instruments have the potential to enhance forest measurements and to overcome metrological difficulties by describing the under-canopy structure faster and in greater detail than time-consuming manual techniques. T-LiDAR scanning also provides information inaccessible to large-scale airborne LiDAR measurements. Its potential implications in the fields of forest inventories, commercial wood management and forest ecology are many. Two aspects need to be improved to make this technology specifically applicable to forestry. The first concerns the T-LiDAR devices themselves, particularly in terms of acquisition time, signal-to-noise ratio, and cost. The second concerns the development of cheap and easy-to-use software that would make it possible to automatically extract information from incomplete data. T-LiDAR has also been used within the field of forest ecology over the past few years. These studies concerned very specific applications, but demonstrated the potential of this technology to provide a good background for ecological questions such as microhabitat distribution and the assessment of the ecological processes that occur in the forest environment. Despite the maturity of these devices, some progress remains to be made in the analysis of the 3D cloud to enhance the extraction of relevant information. There is no doubt that the evolution of devices and computing science will make T-LiDAR technology an important source of information for describing natural environments in the future.
@article{dassotUseTerrestrialLiDAR2011,
  title = {The Use of Terrestrial {{LiDAR}} Technology in Forest Science: Application Fields, Benefits and Challenges},
  author = {Dassot, Mathieu and Constant, Thiéry and Fournier, Meriem},
  date = {2011},
  journaltitle = {Annals of Forest Science},
  volume = {68},
  pages = {959--974},
  issn = {1297-966X},
  doi = {10.1007/s13595-011-0102-2},
  url = {http://mfkp.org/INRMM/article/13704459},
  abstract = {[Introduction] The use of terrestrial LiDAR (light detection and ranging) scanners in forest environments is being studied extensively at present due to the high potential of this technology to acquire three-dimensional data on standing trees rapidly and accurately. This article aims to establish the state-of-the-art in this emerging area.

[Objectives] Terrestrial LiDAR has been applied to forest inventory measurements (plot cartography, species recognition, diameter at breast height, tree height, stem density, basal area and plot-level wood volume estimates) and canopy characterisation (virtual projections, gap fraction and three-dimensional foliage distribution). These techniques have been extended to stand value and wood quality assessment. Terrestrial LiDAR also provides new support for ecological applications such as the assessment of the physical properties of leaves, transpiration processes and microhabitat diversity.

[Results] Since 2003, both the capabilities of the devices and data processing technology have improved significantly, with encouraging results. Nevertheless, measurement patterns and device specifications must be selected carefully according to the objectives of the study. Moreover, automated and reliable programmes are still required to process data to make these methodologies applicable specifically to the forest sciences and to fill the gap between time-consuming manual methods and wide-scale remote sensing such as airborne LiDAR scanning.

[Excerpt: Conclusions] The aim of this article was to establish the state-of-the-art of the current applications of T-LiDAR technology in forest science, as well as to determine its applicability for its intended use. It appears that T-LiDAR instruments have the potential to enhance forest measurements and to overcome metrological difficulties by describing the under-canopy structure faster and in greater detail than time-consuming manual techniques. T-LiDAR scanning also provides information inaccessible to large-scale airborne LiDAR measurements. Its potential implications in the fields of forest inventories, commercial wood management and forest ecology are many. Two aspects need to be improved to make this technology specifically applicable to forestry. The first concerns the T-LiDAR devices themselves, particularly in terms of acquisition time, signal-to-noise ratio, and cost. The second concerns the development of cheap and easy-to-use software that would make it possible to automatically extract information from incomplete data. T-LiDAR has also been used within the field of forest ecology over the past few years. These studies concerned very specific applications, but demonstrated the potential of this technology to provide a good background for ecological questions such as microhabitat distribution and the assessment of the ecological processes that occur in the forest environment. Despite the maturity of these devices, some progress remains to be made in the analysis of the 3D cloud to enhance the extraction of relevant information. There is no doubt that the evolution of devices and computing science will make T-LiDAR technology an important source of information for describing natural environments in the future.},
  keywords = {*imported-from-citeulike-INRMM,~INRMM-MiD:c-13704459,~to-add-doi-URL,data,ecology,field-measurements,forest-resources,inventories,lidar,remote-sensing,terrestrial-lidar,wide-scale},
  number = {5}
}
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