The National Land Survey of Finland (NLS) has expanded the use of laser scanning in the last decade to encompass forest assessments and terrain mapping. The 3D data resulting from the scanning is used to comprehensively map out Finland’s surface area and forest resources. The entire project is expected to be finished by the year 2017.
One of the by-products of this effort is a very precise assessment of Finland’s animal habitats. Variables of the forest structure like canopy density and the amount of undergrowth can tell a lot about how much shelter, nesting places and food a particular area can offer certain species.
“In a nutshell, the forest structure affects how well that habitat would serve different animals, and laser scanning provides us with a method for studying this structure,” says Markus Melin, a researcher with the University of Eastern Finland.