Airborne LiDAR derived canopy height model reveals a significant difference in radiata pine (Pinus radiata D. Don) heights based on slope and aspect of sites
- 474 Downloads
Significant relationship between tree height and ALS-derived topography was shown. Taller trees were found on slopes <10° and southerly aspects. Potential value of ALS in forest management applications was defined.
Accurate information on tree height distribution can provide a better understanding of forest productivity and biomass estimation. Airborne light detection and ranging remote sensing, also known as airborne laser scanning (ALS), has proven to be an effective tool for deriving tree height information in forests. While tree height has been reported to vary in response to many environmental factors, few researchers have demonstrated the effect of topography on tree height variation using ALS data. This study investigated the relationship between tree height variation and ALS-derived topographic aspect and slope factors within two even-aged radiata pine (Pinus radiata D. Don) plantation sites in Nundle, New South Wales, Australia. A total of 447 trees was sampled from 77 plots in two plantation age classes: 193 trees from a 34-year-old site and 254 trees from a 9-year-old site. ALS height estimates were highly correlated with field heights (R 2 = 0.90 and RMSE = 0.66 for 2002 and R 2 = 0.87 and RMSE = 1.49 for 1977 sites). ALS-derived slope and aspect metrics were shown to have a significant relationship with height variation across the stands. The slope (P < 0.01) and aspect (P < 0.001) were significant in the mixed linear models. Overall taller trees were found on slopes below 10° and on southerly aspects, while shorter trees dominated steeper slopes (>20°) and on northerly aspects. However, aspect gradient appeared to have more significant effect on tree heights than slope classes. These results were further verified using an additional 2,000 randomly located trees sampled across the plantations. The study demonstrates a significant relationship between tree height variation and ALS-derived ground aspect and slope categories which may have potential benefits for improving current wood resource inventories and future productivity models.
KeywordsHeight variation Topography ALS derived models Pine forests Aspect-slope classes
The authors would like to thank Forestry New South Wales for providing the ALS data, and the NSW Department of Primary Industries for help in conducting the field surveys used in this study. We wish to gratefully acknowledge the statistical support and assistance kindly provided by Dr Gavin Melville from the NSW Department of Primary Industry. Finally, we would like to express our deep graduate to the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions to improve the quality of the paper.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Aldred A, Bonner G M, (1985) Application of airborne lasers to forest surveys. Canadian Forestry Service. Canadian Forestry Service, Petawawa National Forestry Centre, Information Report pp 51–62Google Scholar
- Barry RG (1992) Mountain weather and climate. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Beers TW, Dress PE, Wensel LC (1966) Aspect transformation in site productivity research. J For 64(10):691–692Google Scholar
- Benecke U, Nordmeyer AH (1982) Carbon uptake and allocation by Nothofagus Solandri var. cliffortioides (Hook. f.) Poole and Pinus contorta Douglas ex Loudon ssp. contorta at montane and subalpine altitudes. In: WR H (ed) Carbon uptake and allocation in subalpine ecosystems as a key to management. Forest Research Laboratory, Oregon State University, Corvallis, pp 9–21Google Scholar
- Bird PR (2000) Farm Forestry in Southern Australia, a focus on clear wood production of specialty timbers. Agriculture Victoria, Pastoral and Veterinary, HamiltonGoogle Scholar
- Butler D, Cullis BR, Gilmour AR, Gogel BJ (2009) ASReml-R reference manual, release 3. Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, QueenslandGoogle Scholar
- Cochran WG (1977) Sampling techniques, 3rd edn. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Forrest WG (1969) Variations in the accumulation, distribution and movement of mineral nutrients in radiata pine plantations. Australian National University, CanberraGoogle Scholar
- Kimmins JP (1997) Forest ecology: a foundation for sustainable management. Prentice Hall Inc, Upper Saddle RiverGoogle Scholar
- Kirchhefer AJ (2000) The influence of slope aspect on tree-ring growth of Pinus sylvestris L. in northern Norway and its implications for climate reconstruction. Dendrochronologia 18:27–40Google Scholar
- Lewis NB, Ferguson IS (1993) Management of radiata pine. Inkata Press, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
- McGaughey RJ (2007) FUSION manual, version 2.90. USDA Forest ServiceGoogle Scholar
- Norström F (2002) Forest inventory estimation using remotely sensed data as a stratification tool: a simulation study. Institutionen för skoglig resurshushållning och geomatik, UmeaGoogle Scholar
- Park HJ, Turner R, Lim S, Trinder J, Moore D (2011) Analysis of pine tree height estimation using full waveform lidar. In: 34th international symposium on remote sensing of environment - the GEOSS era: towards operational environmental monitoring, Sydney, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
- Persson A, Holmgren H, Söderman U (2002) Detecting and measuring individual trees using an airborne Laser scanner. Photogramm Eng Remote Sens 68(9):925–932Google Scholar
- R Development Core Team (2011) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. In: R Foundation for Statistical Computing. Vienna, Austria. ISBN:3-900051-07-0. Available online at http://www.R-project.org
- Reutebuch SE, Andersen H-E, McGaughey RJ (2005) LIDAR: an emerging tool for multiple resource inventory. J For 103(6):286–292Google Scholar
- Stage AR, Salas C (2007) Interactions of elevation, aspect, and slope in models of forest species composition and productivity. For Sci 53:486–492Google Scholar
- Stone C, Penman T, Turner R (2011) Determining an optimal model for processing lidar data at the plot level: results for a Pinus radiata plantation in New South Wales. NZ J For Sci 41:191–205Google Scholar
- Taylor R, Burt J (2007) Growing olives in Western Australia. Department of Agriculture and Food, PerthGoogle Scholar
- Turner RS (2006) An airborne Lidar canopy segmentation approach for estimating above-ground biomass in coastal eucalypt forests. University of New South Wales, SydneyGoogle Scholar
- Yang JG, Wang GX, Hua WS, Song CS, Chen YF, Chen ZS (1993) Evaluation of site quality and suitability of trees in the Taihang mountains. Chinese Forest Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar