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Predicting live and dead basal area in bark beetle-affected forests from discrete-return LiDAR


Hudak, Andrew T.; Bright, Ben; Negron, Jose; McGaughey, Robert; Andersen, Hans-Erik; Hicke, Jeffrey A. 2012. Predicting live and dead basal area in bark beetle-affected forests from discrete-return LiDAR. In: SilviLaser 2012: First Return; 12th International Conference on LiDAR Applications for Assessing Forest Ecosystems; Sept. 16-19 September 2012; Vancouver, Canada. Paper Number: ###SL2012-139. Online: http://silvilaser2012.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Silvilaser2012_Full_Proceedings.pdf

Recent bark beetle outbreaks in western North America have been widespread and severe. High tree mortality due to bark beetles affects the fundamental ecosystem processes of primary production and decomposition that largely determine carbon balance (Kurz et al. 2008, Pfeifer et al. 2011, Hicke et al. 2012). Forest managers need accurate data on beetle-induced tree mortality to make better decisions on how best to remediate beetle-affected forests and restore healthy ecosystem services (Negron et al. 2008). Discrete-return LiDAR measures canopy height and density, and LiDAR intensity provides some indication of the spectral reflectance and condition of canopy elements (foliage and branches) (Kim et al. 2009). LiDAR has been successfully applied to estimate biomass and carbon stocks in healthy forest (Hudak et al. 2012) and beetle-affected forest (Bright et al. 2012). A challenge in beetle-affected forests is that most airborne LiDAR has a single near infrared wavelength; i.e., LiDAR lacks the multispectral information useful for distinguishing between green, red, and grey trees. However, LiDAR intensity values may help distinguish between live green and dead red or grey trees. Moreover, mountain pine beetles (the most widespread bark beetle currently) and spruce beetles preferentially attack larger trees, so beetles impart a canopy structural signature that may be exploited (Coops et al. 2009).

Keywords: bark beetle, LiDAR


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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Predicting live and dead basal area in bark beetle-affected forests from discrete-return LiDAR
Electronic Publish Date: October 9, 2012
Last Update:
October 9, 2012

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