Application of Physically-Based Slope Correction for Maximum Forest Canopy Height Estimation Using Waveform Lidar across Different Footprint Sizes and Locations: Tests on LVIS and GLAS
Forest canopy height is an important biophysical variable for quantifying carbon storage in terrestrial ecosystems. Active light detection and ranging (lidar) sensors with discrete-return or waveform lidar have produced reliable measures of forest canopy height. However, rigorous procedures are required for an accurate estimation, especially when using waveform lidar, since backscattered signals are likely distorted by topographic conditions within the footprint. Based on extracted waveform
... racted waveform parameters, we explore how well a physical slope correction approach performs across different footprint sizes and study sites. The data are derived from airborne (Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor; LVIS) and spaceborne (Geoscience Laser Altimeter System; GLAS) lidar campaigns. Comparisons against field measurements show that LVIS data can satisfactorily provide a proxy for maximum forest canopy heights (n = 705, RMSE = 4.99 m, and R 2 = 0.78), and the simple slope correction grants slight accuracy advancement in the LVIS canopy height retrieval (RMSE of 0.39 m improved). In the same vein of the LVIS with relatively smaller footprint size (~20 m), substantial progress resulted from the physically-based correction OPEN ACCESS Remote Sens. 2014, 6 6567 for the GLAS (footprint size = ~50 m). When compared against reference LVIS data, RMSE and R 2 for the GLAS metrics (n = 527) are improved from 12.74-7.83 m and from 0.54-0.63, respectively. RMSE of 5.32 m and R 2 of 0.80 are finally achieved without 38 outliers (n = 489). From this study, we found that both LVIS and GLAS lidar campaigns could be benefited from the physical correction approach, and the magnitude of accuracy improvement was determined by footprint size and terrain slope.