Abstract – This paper investigates the possibility of applying light detection and ranging (LiDAR) point clouds and geographic information system (GIS) analyses for land use and land cover (LULC) automated change detection, mainly with a view to monitoring uncontrolled forest succession occurring on postagricultural lands. The research was conducted in a part of the administrative district of Milicz (in the central-west area of Poland). The areas of interest were parcels in which agricultural use has been abandoned and forest succession processes have progressed. The airborne laser scanning (ALS) data (acquired in 2007, 2012, and 2015) revealed detailed changes in land cover as a result of the progression in the forest succession process. Using the ALS data, the LULC changes and the progress of secondary forest succession are shown, and the vegetation parameters (LiDAR metrics) are presented.
In this research, parcels situated close to state forests were chosen for LULC change analyses and forest succession monitoring. In these areas, which are directly adjacent to forests, examples of agricultural production abandonment and the beginning of uncontrolled forest succession are often observed.
The aim of the presented research was to define the usage of LiDAR point clouds for automated mapping of secondary forest succession areas. The general aim of this work is to demonstrate the potential for automation in forest succession detection and monitoring on abandoned agricultural lands using LiDAR technology and GIS (geographic information system) analyses. ALS point clouds were used for collecting information (metrics) about vegetation, principally to obtain precise information about the height of vegetation and the canopy cover. The study provides an example of the use of multiyear airborne laser scanning acquisition to monitor the return to shrubland/forest of abandoned agricultural fields.
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