Under Saskatchewan skies thick with wildfire smoke in July, a bright blue UBC Forestry truck blaring country music headed west. While particles of burned forests clouded the sun, the researchers behind the wheel set out to understand how to help forest regeneration after the flames cool.
From an article in Ubyssey.com by Tova Gaster.
“Every time I see smoke in the air I think my research is applicable because things are actively burning,” aid UBC PhD student Sarah Smith- Tripp. “We have to think about how things will look in the future.”
Members of the UBC Integrated Remote Sensing Studio, including Smith-Tripp, took a two-week remote sensing fieldwork road trip across the country. From the Acadian broadleaf forests of New Brunswick to BC’s temperate rainforests, they used drones to scan landscapes from timber plantations to bare ash.
“Understanding what forests look like after a disturbance occurs is really important, “said Smith-Tripp. “We also should plan for that sort of resiliency within forests because we know that our forests are operating under greater stresses.”
While BC is currently dealing with the direct impacts of wildfires, the slower work of regeneration that happens next is just as important. That includes creating and maintaining grasslands as natural firebreaks, and ensuring that invasive species don’t get a foothold.
William Nikolakis is a UBC researcher that works with the Tsilhqot’in First Nation to restore controlled fire to the landscape.
LIDAR doesn’t miss the forest for the trees
To keep track of Canada’s huge and rapidly-changing forest ecosystems, remote sensing technology is becoming increasingly important.
“The value of remote sensing is that it takes people out of the field, it decreases the cost and it increases the amount of data that we have to give managers,” said Smith-Tripp.
Her study is part of a larger project called Silva21, a $5 million National Science and Engineering Research Council grant dedicated to getting as much data on different aspects of Canada’s forests as possible.
Since the Scantiques Roadshow is about collecting data about forests, the applications to forest management change based on who’s using it.
“We met with somebody who works for Ontario Forests, with people that work for Natural Resources Canada, and all of those people have the forest in mind but will ask very different questions of those forests,” said Smith-Tripp.
At that point, it’s a question of politics and power as much as ecology. LIDAR is a tool, and Smith-Tripp said that how industry or governments use the information it provides is mostly out of her hands.
Smith-Tripp’s team uses a remote sensing method called LIDAR, which stands for “light detection and ranging.” LIDAR works by scanning objects or landscapes with a light pulse sent from a drone, airplane or even some of the newer iPhones. By measuring the time it takes for light to reflect back, it can map out the contours of landscape onto an accurate 3D model.
For the complete article on forest regeneration CLICK HERE.
Note – If you liked this post click here to stay informed of all of the 3D laser scanning, geomatics, UAS, autonomous vehicle, Lidar News and more. If you have an informative 3D video that you would like us to promote, please forward to email@example.com and if you would like to join the Younger Geospatial Professional movement click here