Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 1749–1765 | Cite as

Using high-resolution LiDAR data to quantify the three-dimensional structure of vegetation in urban green space

  • Rhiannon J. C. Caynes
  • Matthew G. E. Mitchell
  • Dan Sabrina Wu
  • Kasper Johansen
  • Jonathan R. Rhodes
Article

Abstract

The spatial arrangement and vertical structure of vegetation in urban green spaces are key factors in determining the types of benefits that urban parks provide to people. This includes opportunities for recreation, spiritual fulfilment and biodiversity conservation. However, there has been little consideration of how the fine-scale spatial and vertical structure of vegetation is distributed in urban parks, primarily due to limitations in methods for doing so. We addressed this gap by developing a method using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data to map, at a fine resolution, tree cover, vegetation spatial arrangement, and vegetation vertical structure. We then applied this method to urban parks in Brisbane, Australia. We found that parks varied mainly in their amount of tree cover and its spatial arrangement, but also in vegetation vertical structure. Interestingly, the vertical structure of vegetation was largely independent of its cover and spatial arrangement. This suggests that vertical structure may be being managed independently to tree cover to provide different benefits across urban parks with different levels of tree cover. Finally, we were able to classify parks into three distinct classes that explicitly account for both the spatial and vertical structure of tree cover. Our approach for mapping the three-dimensional vegetation structure of urban green space provides a much more nuanced and functional description of urban parks than has previously been possible. Future research is now needed to quantify the relationships between vegetation structure and the actual benefits people derive from urban green space.

Keywords

Vegetation vertical structure Vegetation spatial structure Urban parks LiDAR Brisbane, Australia Remote sensing 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by Australian Research Council Discovery Project DP130100218. We thank Brisbane City Council for assisting with and providing data sets, Danielle Shanahan for assisting with the parks data, and the Departments of Science, Information Technology and Innovation and Natural Resources and Mines for providing access to the airborne LiDAR data. The authors also thank three anonymous reviewers for comments that greatly improved the manuscript.

Supplementary material

11252_2016_571_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (5.3 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 5.27 mb)

References

  1. Anderson BJ, Armsworth PR, Eigenbrod F, Thomas CD, Gillings S, Heinemeyer A, et al. (2009) Spatial covariance between biodiversity and other ecosystem service priorities. J Appl Ecol 46(4):888–896CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Argüelles M, Benavides C, Fernández I (2014) A new approach to the identification of regional clusters: hierarchical clustering on principal components. Appl Econ 46(21):2511–2519CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Armston JD, Danaher TJ, Scarth PF, Moffiet TN, Denham RJ (2009) Prediction and validation of foliage projective cover from Landsat-5 TM and Landsat-7 ETM+ imagery. J Appl Remote Sens 3(1):033540Google Scholar
  4. Atiqul Haq SM (2011) Urban green spaces and an integrative approach to sustainable environment. J Environ Prot 2(5):601–608Google Scholar
  5. Barbosa O, Tratalos JA, Armsworth PR, Davies RG, Fuller RA, Johnson P, Gaston KJ (2007) Who benefits from access to green space? A case study from Sheffield, UK. Landsc Urban Plan 83(2):187–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bjerke T, Østdahl T, Thrane C, Strumse E (2006) Vegetation density of urban parks and perceived appropriateness for recreation. Urban For Urban Green 5(1):35–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bolund P, Hunhammar S (1999) Ecosystem services in urban areas. Ecol Econ 29(2):293–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bradbury RB, Hill RA, Mason DC, Hinsley SA, Wilson JD, Balzter H, et al. (2005) Modelling relationships between birds and vegetation structure using airborne LiDAR data: a review with case studies from agricultural and woodland environments. Ibis 147(3):443–452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brisbane City Council. (2006). Park Classification System Guide. BrisbaneGoogle Scholar
  10. Brisbane City Council. (2014). Brisbane City Plan 2014. Brisbane.Google Scholar
  11. Cranz G (1982) The politics of park design. A history of urban parks in America. MIT Press, Cambridge, MassGoogle Scholar
  12. Cranz G, Boland M (2004) Defining the sustainable park: a fifth model for urban parks. Landsc J 23(2):102–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Culbert PD, Radeloff VC, Flather CH, Kellndorfer JM, Rittenhouse CD, Pidgeon AM (2013) The influence of vertical and horizontal habitat structure on nationwide patterns of avian biodiversity. Auk 130(4):656–665CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Davies AB, Asner GP (2014) Advances in animal ecology from 3D-LiDAR ecosystem mapping. Trends Ecol Evol 29(12):681–691CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Davies RG, Barbosa O, Fuller RA, Tratalos J, Burke N, Lewis D, et al. (2008) City-wide relationships between green spaces, urban land use and topography. Urban Ecosystems 11(3):269–287CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Development Core Team R (2010) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, AustriaGoogle Scholar
  17. Dobbs C, Kendal D, Nitschke C (2013) The effects of land tenure and land use on the urban forest structure and composition of Melbourne. Urban For Urban Green 12(4):417–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fischer J, Lindenmayer DB (2007) Landscape modification and habitat fragmentation: a synthesis. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 16(3):265–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fuller RA, Gaston KJ (2009) The scaling of green space coverage in European cities. Biol Lett 5(3):352–355CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  20. Fuller RA, Irvine KN, Devine-Wright P, Warren PH, Gaston KJ (2007) Psychological benefits of greenspace increase with biodiversity. Biol Lett 3(4):390–394CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  21. Gibb H, Hochuli DF (2002) Habitat fragmentation in an urban environment: large and small fragments support different arthropod assemblages. Biol Conserv 106(1):91–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gobster PH, Westphal LM (2004) The human dimensions of urban greenways: planning for recreation and related experiences. Landsc Urban Plan 68(2):147–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Goddard MA, Dougill AJ, Benton TG (2010) Scaling up from gardens: biodiversity conservation in urban environments. Trends Ecol Evol 25(2):90–98CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Goodwin NR, Coops NC, Tooke TR, Christen A, Voogt JA (2009) Characterizing urban surface cover and structure with airborne lidar technology. Can J Remote Sens 35(3):297–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gordon C, Manson R, Sundberg J, Cruz-Angón A (2007) Biodiversity, profitability, and vegetation structure in a Mexican coffee agroecosystem. Agric Ecosyst Environ 118(1):256–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Han W, Zhao S, Feng X, Chen L (2014) Extraction of multilayer vegetation coverage using airborne LiDAR discrete points with intensity information in urban areas: a case study in Nanjing City, China. Int J Appl Earth Obs Geoinf 30:56–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Helzer CJ, Jelinski DE (1999) The relative importance of patch area and perimeter-area ratio to grassland breeding birds. Ecol Appl 9(4):1448–1458Google Scholar
  28. Höfle B, Hollaus M, Hagenauer J (2012) Urban vegetation detection using radiometrically calibrated small-footprint full-waveform airborne LiDAR data. ISPRS J Photogramm Remote Sens 67:134–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Holm S (2000) Use and importance of urban parks. Forest & Landscape Research-Forskningscentret for Skov & Landskab 28:284Google Scholar
  30. Huang Y, Zhou J, Hu C, Tan W, Hu Z, Wu J (2013) Toward automatic estimation of urban green volume using airborne LiDAR data and high resolution remote sensing images. Frontiers of Earth Science 7(1):43–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Husson F, Josse J, Pages J (2010) Principal component methods-hierarchical clustering-partitional clustering: why would we need to choose for visualizing data. Agrocampus Quest. https://cran.rproject.org/web/packages/FactoMineR/vignettes/clustering.pdf.
  32. Kendal D, Williams NSG, Williams KJH (2012) Drivers of diversity and tree cover in gardens, parks and streetscapes in an Australian city. Urban For Urban Green 11(3):257–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kong F, Nakagoshi N (2005) Changes of urban green spaces and their driving forces: a case study of Jinan city. China J Int Dev Cooperat 11:97–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kong F, Yin H, Nakagoshi N, Zong Y (2010) Urban green space network development for biodiversity conservation: identification based on graph theory and gravity modeling. Landsc Urban Plan 95(1):16–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. LaPaix R, Freedman B (2010) Vegetation structure and composition within urban parks of Halifax regional municipality, Nova Scotia, Canada. Landsc Urban Plan 98(2):124–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lê S, Josse J, Husson F (2008) FactoMineR: an R package for multivariate analysis. J Stat Softw 25(1):1–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lefsky MA, Cohen WB, Parker GG, Harding DJ (2002) Lidar remote sensing for ecosystem studies. Bioscience 51(1):19–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lehmann I, Mathey J, Rößler S, Bräuer A, Goldberg V (2014) Urban vegetation structure types as a methodological approach for identifying ecosystem services–application to the analysis of micro-climatic effects. Ecol Indic 42:58–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lin BB, Fuller RA (2013) FORUM: sharing or sparing? How should we grow the world's cities? J Appl Ecol 50(5):1161–1168Google Scholar
  40. Lin BB, Fuller RA, Bush R, Gaston KJ, Shanahan DF (2014) Opportunity or orientation? Who uses urban parks and why. PLoS One 9(1):e87422CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  41. Lu F, Li Z (2003) A model of ecosystem health and its application. Ecol Model 170(1):55–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Luck GW, Davidson P, Boxall D, Smallbone L (2011) Relations between urban bird and plant communities and human well-being and connection to nature. Conserv Biol 25(4):816–826CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Maas J, Van Dillen SME, Verheij RA, Groenewegen PP (2009) Social contacts as a possible mechanism behind the relation between green space and health. Health & Place 15(2):586–595Google Scholar
  44. MacArthur RH, MacArthur JW (1961) On bird species diversity. Ecology 42(3):594–598CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. McCormack GR, Rock M, Toohey AM, Hignell D (2010) Characteristics of urban parks associated with park use and physical activity: a review of qualitative research. Health & Place 16(4):712–726Google Scholar
  46. McGarigal K, Cushman SA, Neel MC, Ene E (2002) FRAGSTATS: spatial pattern analysis program for categorical maps.Google Scholar
  47. Mitchell MGE, Suarez-Castro AF, Martinez-Harms M, Maron M, McAlpine C, Gaston KJ, et al. (2015) Reframing landscape fragmentation's effects on ecosystem services. Trends Ecol Evol 30(4):190–198CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Miura N, Jones SD (2010) Characterizing forest ecological structure using pulse types and heights of airborne laser scanning. Remote Sens Environ 114(5):1069–1076CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Morsdorf F, Kötz B, Meier E, Itten KI, Allgöwer B (2006) Estimation of LAI and fractional cover from small footprint airborne laser scanning data based on gap fraction. Remote Sens Environ 104(1):50–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Phalan B, Onial M, Balmford A, Green RE (2011) Reconciling food production and biodiversity conservation: land sharing and land sparing compared. Science 333(6047):1289–1291CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Ruiz-Jaén MC, Aide TM (2005) Vegetation structure, species diversity, and ecosystem processes as measures of restoration success. For Ecol Manag 218(1):159–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sadler J, Bates A, Hale J, James P (2010) Bringing cities alive: the importance of urban green spaces for people and biodiversity. Urban ecology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 230–260Google Scholar
  53. Sandström UG, Angelstam P, Mikusiński G (2006) Ecological diversity of birds in relation to the structure of urban green space. Landsc Urban Plan 77(1):39–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Scarth P, Armston J, Danaher T (2008) On the relationship between crown cover, foliage projective cover and leaf area index. Paper presented at the 14th Australasian Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Conference, Bartolo R., Edwards A., Spatial Sciences Institute, Australia.Google Scholar
  55. Seavy NE, Viers JH, Wood JK (2009) Riparian bird response to vegetation structure: a multiscale analysis using LiDAR measurements of canopy height. Ecol Appl 19(7):1848–1857CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Shanahan DF, Lin BB, Gaston KJ, Bush R, Fuller RA (2014) Socio-economic inequalities in access to nature on public and private lands: a case study from Brisbane, Australia. Landsc Urban Plan 130:14–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Shanahan DF, Lin BB, Gaston KJ, Bush R, Fuller RA (2015) What is the role of trees and remnant vegetation in attracting people to urban parks? Landsc Ecol 30(1):153–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Simonson WD, Allen HD, Coomes DA (2014) Applications of airborne lidar for the assessment of animal species diversity. Methods Ecol Evol 5(8):719–729Google Scholar
  59. Threlfall CG, Law B, Banks PB (2013) Roost selection in suburban bushland by the urban sensitive bat Nyctophilus Gouldi. J Mammal 94(2):307–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Tooke TR, Coops NC, Goodwin NR, Voogt JA (2009) Extracting urban vegetation characteristics using spectral mixture analysis and decision tree classifications. Remote Sens Environ 113:398–407CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Turner MG (1989) Landscape ecology: the effect of pattern on process. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 20:171–197Google Scholar
  62. Tzoulas K, Korpela K, Venn S, Yli-Pelkonen V, Kaźmierczak A, Niemela J, James P (2007) Promoting ecosystem and human health in urban areas using green infrastructure: a literature review. Landsc Urban Plan 81(3):167–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Van Herzele A, Wiedemann T (2003) A monitoring tool for the provision of accessible and attractive urban green spaces. Landsc Urban Plan 63(2):109–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Van Leeuwen E, Nijkamp P, de Noronha Vaz T (2010) The multifunctional use of urban greenspace. Int J Agric Sustain 8(1–2):20–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Vierling KT, Vierling LA, Gould WA, Martinuzzi S, Clawges RM (2008) Lidar: shedding new light on habitat characterization and modeling. Front Ecol Environ 6(2):90–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Voigt A, Kabisch N, Wurster D, Haase D, Breuste J (2014) Structural diversity: a multi-dimensional approach to assess recreational services in urban parks. Ambio 43(4):480–491CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  67. Wang X, Blanchet FG, Koper N (2014) Measuring habitat fragmentation: an evaluation of landscape pattern metrics. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 5(7): 634–646Google Scholar
  68. Ward JH Jr (1963) Hierarchical grouping to optimize an objective function. J Am Stat Assoc 58(301):236–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Wing BM, Ritchie MW, Boston K, Cohen WB, Gitelman A, Olsen MJ (2012) Prediction of understory vegetation cover with airborne lidar in an interior ponderosa pine forest. Remote Sens Environ 124:730–741CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Zhou W, Troy A (2008) An object-oriented approach for analysing and characterizing urban landscape at the parcel level. Int J Remote Sens 29(11):3119–3135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Zimble DA, Evans DL, Carlson GC, Parker RC, Grado SC, Gerard PD (2003) Characterizing vertical forest structure using small-footprint airborne LiDAR. Remote Sens Environ 87(2):171–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rhiannon J. C. Caynes
    • 1
  • Matthew G. E. Mitchell
    • 1
  • Dan Sabrina Wu
    • 1
  • Kasper Johansen
    • 1
  • Jonathan R. Rhodes
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Geography, Planning and Environmental ManagementThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations