Comparison of Stem Map Developed from Crown Geometry Allometry Linked Census Data to Airborne and Terrestrial Lidar at Harvard Forest, MA
Abstract:Harvard Forest in Petersham, MA, USA is the location of one of the temperate forest plots established by the Center for Tropical Forest Science (CTFS) as a joint effort with Harvard Forest and the Smithsonian Institute’s Forest Global Earth Observatory (ForestGEO) to characterize ecosystem processes and forest dynamics. Census of a 35 ha plot on Prospect Hill was completed during the winter of 2014 by researchers at Harvard Forest. Census data were collected according to CTFS protocol; measured variables included species, stem diameter, and relative X-Y locations. Airborne lidar data were collected over the censused plot using the high spatial resolution Goddard LiDAR, Hyperspectral, and Thermal sensor package (G-LiHT) during June 2012. As part of a separate study, 39 variable radius plots (VRPs) were randomly located and sampled within and throughout the Prospect Hill CTFS/ForestGEO plot during September and October 2013. On VRPs, biometric properties of trees were sampled, including species, stem diameter, total height, crown base height, crown radii, and relative location to plot centers using a 20 Basal Area Factor prism. In addition, a terrestrial-based lidar scanner was used to collect one lidar scan at plot center for 38 of the 39 VRPs.
Leveraging allometric equations of crown geometry and tree height developed from 374 trees and 16 different species sampled on 39 VRPs, a 3-dimensional stem map will be created using the Harvard Forest ForestGEO Prospect Hill census. Vertical and horizontal structure of 3d field-based stem maps will be compared to terrestrial and airborne lidar scan data. Furthermore, to assess the quality of allometric equations, a 2d canopy height raster of the field-based stem map will be compared to a G-LiHT derived canopy height model for the 35 ha census plot. Our automated crown delineation methods will be applied to the 2d representation of the census stem map and the G-LiHT canopy height model. For future work related to this study, high quality field-based stem maps with species and crown geometry information will allow for better comparisons and interpretations of individual tree spectra from the G-LiHT hyperspectral sensor as estimated by automated crown delineation of the G-LiHT lidar canopy height model.