A comparison of individual tree and forest plot height derived from LiDAR and InSAR. ASPRS Photogrammetric Engineering

Huang, S., Hager, S., Halligan, K., Fairweather, I., Swanson, A., Crabtree, R.L.

Remote Sensing, Vol. 75 Issue 2, pp 159-167


To compare the capability and the accuracy of Light Detection And Ranging (lidar) and Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (INSAR) for the detection and measurement of individual tree heights and forest plot heights, one lidar dataset with nominal spacing of 3 m and one short-wavelength Ku-band INSAR with comparable ground resolution of 3 m were studied. Vegetation heights were based on the subtraction between the bare ground Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) and the canopy Digital Surface Models (DSMs). Two field measurement datasets of isolated individual trees and forest plots were used for validation. Results showed 78 percent and 17 percent of the individual trees was detected on lidar and INSAR data, respectively. General canopy height patterns could be successfully identified through a transect profile for both sensors, however, both sensors consistently underestimated vegetation height. Higher accuracy was obtained for both individual tree level and forest plot level with lidar than that from the Ku-band INSAR. These results indicate that lidar is much better than INSAR for the detection and estimation of tree and forest plot height.

Patrick Cross2009