|Linking lidar and forest modeling to assess biomass estimation across scales and disturbance states
|Knapp, N.; Fischer, R. ; Huth, A.
|Remote Sensing of Environment
|Aboveground biomass; Tropical forest; Disturbance; Lidar simulation; Forest modeling; Resolution; Scale
|UFZ wide themes
|Light detection and ranging (lidar) is currently the state-of-the-art remote sensing technology for measuring the 3D structures of forests. Studies have shown that various lidar-derived metrics can be used to predict forest attributes, such as aboveground biomass. However, finding out which metric works best at which scale and under which conditions requires extensive field inventories as ground-truth data. The goal of our study was to overcome the limitations of inventory data by complementing field-derived data with virtual forest stands from a dynamic forest model. The simulated stands were used to compare 29 different lidar metrics for their utility as predictors of tropical forest biomass at different spatial scales. We used the process-based forest model FORMIND, developed a lidar simulation model, based on the Beer-Lambert law of light extinction, and applied it to a tropical forest in Panama. Simulation scenarios comprised undisturbed primary forests and stands exposed to logging and fire disturbance regimes, resulting in mosaics of different successional stages, totaling 3.7 million trees on 4200 ha. The simulated forest was sampled with the lidar model. Several lidar metrics, in particular height metrics, showed good correlations with forest biomass, even for disturbed forest. Estimation errors (nRMSE) increased with decreasing spatial scale from < 10% (200-m scale) to > 30% (20-m scale) for the best metrics. At the often used 1-ha scale, the top-of-canopy height obtained from canopy height models with fine to relatively coarse pixel resolutions (1 to 10 m) yielded the most accurate biomass predictions, with nRMSE < 6% for undisturbed and nRMSE < 9% for disturbed forests. This study represents the first time dynamic modeling of a tropical forest has been combined with lidar remote sensing to systematically investigate lidar-to-biomass relationships for varying lidar metrics, scales and disturbance states. In the future, this approach can be used to explore the potential of remote sensing of other forest attributes, e.g., carbon dynamics, and other remote sensing systems, e.g., spaceborne lidar and radar.
|Persistent UFZ Identifier
|Knapp, N., Fischer, R., Huth, A. (2018):
Linking lidar and forest modeling to assess biomass estimation across scales and disturbance states
Remote Sens. Environ. 205 , 199 - 209