Predicting vegetation characteristics in a changing environment by means of laser scanning

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Accurate and up-to-date information concerning vegetation characteristics is needed for decision-making from individual-tree-level management activities to the strategic planning of forest resources. Outdated information may lead to unbeneficial or even wrong decisions, at least when it comes to the timing of management activities. Airborne laser scanning (ALS) has so far been successfully used for applications involving detailed vegetation mapping because of its capability to simultaneously produce accurate information on vegetation and ground surfaces. The aim of this dissertation was to develop methods for characterizing vegetation and its changes in varying environments. A method called multisource single-tree inventory (MS-STI) was developed in substudy I to update urban tree attributes. In MS-STI stem map was produced with terrestrial laser scanning and by combining the stem map with predictors derived from ALS data it was possible to obtain improved estimates of diameter-at-breast height but also to produce new attributes such as height and crown size. Boat-based mobile laser scanning (MLS) data were employed in substudy II to map riverbank vegetation and identify changes. The overall classification accuracy of 73% was obtained, which is similar to accuracies found in other studies. With multi-temporal MLS data sets changes in vegetation were mapped year to year. In substudy III, open access ALS data were combined with multisource national forest inventory (NFI) data to investigate the drivers associated to wind damage. The special interest was in ALS-based predictors to map areas with wind disturbance and apply logistic regression to produce a continuous probability surface of wind predisposition to identify areas most likely to experience wind damage. The results demonstrated that a combination of ALS and multisource NFI in the modelling approach increased the prediction accuracy from 76% to 81%. The dissertation showed the capability of ALS and MLS for characterizing vegetation and mapping changes in varying environments. The developed applications could increase and expand the utilization of multi-temporal 3D data sets as well as increase data value. The results of this dissertation can be utilized in producing more accurate, diverse, and up-to-date information for decision-making related to natural resources
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationVantaa
Print ISBNs978-951-651-523-9
Electronic ISBNs978-951-651-522-2
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2016
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Fields of Science

  • 4112 Forestry
  • forest inventory
  • forest mensuration
  • LiDAR
  • remote sensing
  • mapping
  • change detection
  • monitoring

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