Measuring Individual Tree Diameter and Height Using GatorEye High-Density UAV-Lidar in an Integrated Crop-Livestock-Forest System

Ana Paula Dalla Corte, Franciel Eduardo Rex, Danilo Roberti Alves de Almeida, Carlos Roberto Sanquetta, Carlos A. Silva, Marks M. Moura, Ben Wilkinson, Angelica Maria Almeyda Zambrano, Ernandes M. da Cunha Neto, Hudson F. P. Veras, Anibal de Moraes, Carine Klauberg (+3 others)
2020 Remote Sensing  
Accurate forest parameters are essential for forest inventory. Traditionally, parameters such as diameter at breast height (DBH) and total height are measured in the field by level gauges and hypsometers. However, field inventories are usually based on sample plots, which, despite providing valuable and necessary information, are laborious, expensive, and spatially limited. Most of the work developed for remote measurement of DBH has used terrestrial laser scanning (TLS), which has high density
more » ... point clouds, being an advantage for the accurate forest inventory. However, TLS still has a spatial limitation to application because it needs to be manually carried to reach the area of interest, requires sometimes challenging field access, and often requires a field team. UAV-borne (unmanned aerial vehicle) lidar has great potential to measure DBH as it provides much higher density point cloud data as compared to aircraft-borne systems. Here, we explore the potential of a UAV-lidar system (GatorEye) to measure individual-tree DBH and total height using an automatic approach in an integrated crop-livestock-forest system with seminal forest plantations of Eucalyptus benthamii. A total of 63 trees were georeferenced and had their DBH and total height measured in the field. In the high-density (>1400 points per meter squared) UAV-lidar point cloud, we applied algorithms (usually used for TLS) for individual tree detection and direct measurement of tree height and DBH. The correlation coefficients (r) between the field-observed and UAV lidar-derived measurements were 0.77 and 0.91 for DBH and total tree height, respectively. The corresponding root mean square errors (RMSE) were 11.3% and 7.9%, respectively. UAV-lidar systems have the potential for measuring relatively broad-scale (thousands of hectares) forest plantations, reducing field effort, and providing an important tool to aid decision making for efficient forest management. We recommend that this potential be explored in other tree plantations and forest environments.
doi:10.3390/rs12050863 fatcat:3s7hojqjxbcjfotb2v3npwmmau