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The assessment of forest parameters by combined LiDAR and satellite data over Alpine regions for EUFODOS Implementation in Austria

Abstract:

Regional authorities require detailed and georeferenced information on the status of forests to ensure a sustainable forest management. One of the objectives in the FP7 project EUFODOS was the development of an operational service based on airborne laser scanning and satellite data in order to derive forest parameters relevant for the management of protective forests in the Alps. The estimated parameters are forest type, stem number, height of upper layer, mean height and timber volume. RapidEye imagery was used to derive coniferous and broadleaf forest classes using a logistic regression-based method. After the generation of a normalised Digital Surface Model and a forest mask, the forest area was segmented into homogeneous polygons, tree tops were detected, and various forest parameters are calculated. The accuracy of such an assessment was comparable with some previous studies, and the R-square between the estimated and measured values was 0.69 for tree top detection, 0.82 for upper height and 0.84 for mean height. For the calculation of timber volume, the R for modelling is 0.82, for validation with an independent set of field plots, the R is 0.71. The results have been successfully integrated into the regional forestry GIS and are used in forest management.