LiDAR: A Bird’s-Eye Look at Wildlife Habitat
LiDAR, or Light Detection and Ranging, is a remote sensing tool that allows us to measure the height of vegetation using a laser in an airplane. As the airplane flies over the forest, the laser beam shoots toward the ground, and the light is reflected back from the ground and from vegetation. Scientists can use this data to make detailed maps of the ground surface as well as the height and structure of the vegetation. Scientists can then analyze these maps in a geographic information system to identify areas on the landscape that meet certain criteria. For example, scientists can map areas where the trees are over 100 feet tall, or where tree canopy is mostly open, or where there are dense areas of shrubs, or any combination of characteristics. This helps managers identify areas that might meet the habitat needs of specific species without the requirement to do expensive large-scale searches on the ground. Work currently underway on the White Mountain National Forest has been focused on using LiDAR data to identify areas of potential early successional habitat (young brushy forest) important to many bird species as well as moose and snowshoe hare.
|Seventy-year record of changes in the composition of overstory species by elevation on the Bartlett Experimental Forest||(publication)|
|Tree species migration studies in the White Mountains of New Hampshire||(publication)|