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Extracting Structural Vegetation Components From Small-Footprint Waveform Lidar for Biomass Estimation in Savanna Ecosystems

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14 Author(s)
McGlinchy, J. ; Environ. Syst. Res. Inst., Redlands, CA, USA ; van Aardt, J.A.N. ; Erasmus, B. ; Asner, G.P.
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Measurement of vegetation biomass accumulation is critical for ecosystem assessment and monitoring, but doing so typically involves extensive field data collection that yields relatively crude structural outputs, e.g., plot- or site-level metrics. This study assessed the utility of airborne light detection and ranging (lidar) waveform features to explain structural and biomass variation in a savanna ecosystem across a land-use gradient. The ability of aboveground waveform lidar features to model field-based woody and herbaceous biomass measurements was evaluated statistically by regression models using forward variable selection. Waveform features explained 76% of the variation in woody biomass in a regulated communal land use area (RMSE = 29.0 kg). The waveform features were also correlated to herbaceous measurements in the same land-use area, with increased correlations at higher biomass levels. These results indicate that small-footprint waveform lidar data potentially can be used as a single modality to describe heterogeneous woody cover in a savanna environment; however, further research is warranted during the full growing season to fully evaluate its performance.

Published in:

Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:7 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

Feb. 2014

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