Funded Research Projects: FOREST ECOLOGY

LiDAR Integration into Dry Forest Management and Restoration

Research Sponsored By: US Forest Service
Principal Investigator: Jerry Franklin
Project Description
The Forest Service is engaged in large scale management and restoration of dry pine and mixed-conifer forests to improve their resilience to fire, insects, and disease across eastern Washington state and Oregon and in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Frequently these efforts are done in collaboration between the Forest Service and outside stakeholder groups. The Forest Service teams and stakeholder groups have expressed interest in using airborne LiDAR and LiDAR-derived information products to support their planning and monitoring efforts. However, the groups often have not been well informed regarding the potential applications of LiDAR and, in some cases, believe that LiDAR can provide more detailed vegetation information that is currently possible (e.g. tree lists suitable for use in growth models and detailed species information). The PNW region of the Forest Service (R6) is aware of the interest in acquiring and applying LiDAR to address management questions and has expressed concern that forests are rushing into data acquisitions without fully understanding the types of information that will be derived from the LiDAR data, who will produce useful information from LiDAR data, the additional requirements for field sampling that are needed to take full advantage of the acquired data. Users lack an understanding of how LiDAR can be used for assessment and project planning. On the other hand, experts in processing LiDAR for forest analysis often lack an understanding of the types of information and tools different types of users need to apply LiDAR data to their management and restorations. In this project, forest LiDAR experts in PNW and SEFS will work intensively with Forest Service teams and stakeholders on one to three restoration projects. Projects will be chosen that are or will be planning management and restoration of dry forests, have Forest Service and stakeholder teams interested in using LiDAR, and will have LiDAR data available in time to be useful for the planning. A preference will be given to projects in Region 6 that meet the criteria, but projects will be chosen in Region 5 if too few are found in Region 6.