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Title (Primary) Deriving tree size distributions of tropical forests from lidar
Author Taubert, F.; Fischer, R.; Knapp, N.; Huth, A.;
Journal Remote Sensing
Year 2021
Department OESA; iDiv;
Volume 13
Issue 1
Language englisch;
POF III (all) T53;
Keywords lidar; remote sensing; lidar profile; stem diameter distribution; forest structure; tropical forests; Barro Colorado Island; leaf area distribution

Remote sensing is an important tool to monitor forests to rapidly detect changes due to global change and other threats. Here, we present a novel methodology to infer the tree size distribution from light detection and ranging (lidar) measurements. Our approach is based on a theoretical leaf–tree matrix derived from allometric relations of trees. Using the leaf–tree matrix, we compute the tree size distribution that fit to the observed leaf area density profile via lidar. To validate our approach, we analyzed the stem diameter distribution of a tropical forest in Panama and compared lidar-derived data with data from forest inventories at different spatial scales (0.04 ha to 50 ha). Our estimates had a high accuracy at scales above 1 ha (1 ha: root mean square error (RMSE) 67.6 trees ha-1 / normalized RMSE 18.8% / R² 0.76; 50 ha: 22.8 trees ha-1 / 6.2% / 0.89). Estimates for smaller scales (1-ha to 0.04-ha) were reliably for forests with low height, dense canopy or low tree height heterogeneity. Estimates for the basal area were accurate at the 1-ha scale (RMSE 4.7 tree ha-1, bias 0.8 m² ha-1) but less accurate at smaller scales. Our methodology, further tested at additional sites, provides a useful approach to determine the tree size distribution of forests by integrating information on tree allometries.

ID 24062
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Taubert, F., Fischer, R., Knapp, N., Huth, A. (2021):
Deriving tree size distributions of tropical forests from lidar
Remote Sens. 13 (1), art. 131