Press Release – Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) data enables the accurate three-dimensional characterization of vertical forest structure. ALS data have proven to be an information-rich asset for forest managers, enabling the generation of highly detailed digital elevation models and the estimation of a range of forest inventory attributes (e.g., height, basal area, and volume). Good practice guidance synthesizes current knowledge from the scientific literature and practical experience to provide non-experts more detailed information about complex topics.
With this Model and Application Guide, the goal is to inform and enable readers interested in using ALS data to characterize, in an operational forest inventory context, large forest areas in a cost-effective manner. This Guide focuses specifically on the data requirements and different modelling approaches associated with implementing an area-based approach to estimate forest inventory attributes using ALS data combined with ground plot measurements.
The Guide is not intended to be prescriptive, as forest environments vary considerably and technology is evolving rapidly. Rather, the Guide is intended to support the reader in making informed decisions regarding the various modelling approaches available. The additional detail provided in this document is intended to be complementary to the more general overview provided in a previous best practices guide published in 2013, and combined these two documents offer comprehensive guidelines for generating a forest inventory using ALS data and an area-based approach.