Impact of Lidar Pulse Density on Estimating Biomass

Airborne lidar is well-suited for mapping many forest attributes, including aboveground biomass (AGB) stocks and changes in selective logging in tropical forests. However, trade-offs still exist between lidar pulse density and accuracy of AGB estimates.

This team of researchers assessed the impacts of lidar pulse density on the estimation of AGB stocks and changes using airborne lidar and field plot data in a selectively logged tropical forest located near Paragominas, Pará, Brazil.

We found that AGB change estimates at the plot level were only slightly affected by pulse density. However, at the landscape level we observed differences in estimated AGB change of >20 Mg·ha−1 when pulse density decreased from 12 to 0.2 pulses·m−2.

The results suggest that AGB change can be monitored in selective logging in tropical forests with reasonable accuracy and low cost with low pulse density lidar surveys if a baseline high-quality DTM is available from at least one lidar survey. We recommend the results of this study to be considered in developing projects and national level MRV systems for REDD+ emission reduction programs for tropical forests.

 

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