Development of Height-Volume Relationships in Second Growth Abies grandis for Use with Aerial LiDAR

Wade T. Tinkham, Alistair M.S. Smith, David L.R. Affleck, Jarred D. Saralecos, Michael J. Falkowski, Chad M. Hoffman, Andrew T. Hudak, Michael A. Wulder

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Following typical forest inventory protocols, individual tree volume estimates are generally derived via diameter-at-breast-height (DBH)-based allometry. Although effective, measurement of DBH is time consuming and potentially a costly element in forest inventories. The capacity of airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR) to provide individual tree-level information poses options for estimating tree-level attributes to enhance the information content of forest inventories. LiDAR provides excellent height measurements and, given the physiologic scaling connection of plant height and volume, using individual tree height-volume relationships could overcome errors associated with the intermediate step of inferring DBH from LiDAR. In this study, 60 Abies grandis (grand fir: 6 cm–64 cm DBH) were destructively sampled to assess stem volume across the Intermountain West in order to develop individual tree height-to-stem volume relationships. Results show DBH (r2 > 0.98) and height (r2 > 0.94) are significantly (p < 0.001) related to stem volume via power relationships. LiDAR-derived heights provided a 12 % RMSE improvement in accuracy of individual tree volume over LiDAR-regressed DBH estimates. Comparing height-based estimates with an existing regional allometry by mapping stem volume in a grand fir-dominated stand yielded a 6.3 % difference in total volume. This study demonstrates LiDAR's potential to estimate individual stem volume at forest management scales, utilizing height-volume relationships.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)400-410
    Number of pages11
    JournalCanadian Journal of Remote Sensing
    Volume42
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Sep 2 2016

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