Structure Measurements of Leaf and Woody Components of Forests with Dual-Wavelength Lidar Scanning Data

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Zhan Li1, Alan H Strahler1, Crystal Schaaf2, Glenn Howe3, Jason Martel3, Kuravi Hewawasam3, Ewan S Douglas1, Supriya Chakrabarti3, Timothy Cook3, Ian Paynter2, Edward Joseph Saenz2, Zhuosen Wang4, Curtis E Woodcock1, David L. B. Jupp5, Michael Schaefer5 and Glenn Newnham6, (1)Boston University, Boston, MA, United States, (2)University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA, United States, (3)University of Massachusetts, Lowell, Lowell, MA, United States, (4)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (5)CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Canberra, Australia, (6)CSIRO Land and Water, Clayton South, Australia
Forest structure plays a critical role in the exchange of energy, carbon and water between land and atmosphere and nutrient cycle. We can provide detailed forest structure measurements of leaf and woody components with the Dual Wavelength Echidna® Lidar (DWEL), which acquires full-waveform scans at both near-infrared (NIR, 1064 nm) and shortwave infrared (SWIR, 1548 nm) wavelengths from simultaneous laser pulses. We collected DWEL scans at a broadleaf forest stand and a conifer forest stand at Harvard Forest in June 2014. Power returned from leaves is much lower than from woody materials such as trunks and branches at the SWIR wavelength due to the liquid water absorption by leaves, whereas returned power at the NIR wavelength is similar from both leaves and woody materials. We threshold a normalized difference index (NDI), defined as the difference between returned power at the two wavelengths divided by their sum, to classify each return pulse as a leaf or trunk/branch hit. We obtain leaf area index (LAI), woody area index (WAI) and vertical profiles of leaf and woody components directly from classified lidar hits without empirical wood-to-total ratios as are commonly used in optical methods of LAI estimation. Tree heights, diameter at breast height (DBH), and stem count density are the other forest structure parameters estimated from our DWEL scans. The separation of leaf and woody components in tandem with fine-scale forest structure measurements will benefit studies on carbon allocation of forest ecosystems and improve our understanding of the effects of forest structure on ecosystem functions.

This research is supported by NSF grant, MRI-0923389