Using Airborne LiDAR to Assess, Compare, and Contrast Forested Landscapes

Research Sponsored By: US Forest Service
Principal Investigator: L. Monika Moskal
Project Description
LiDAR provides a much richer set of measurements across landscapes than has been possible in the past. Forest managers and researchers need a new framework to assess and compare forests using airborne LiDAR data in conjunction with other landscape data such as biophysical patterns and species composition measurements from sources such as Landsat data. In this project, LiDAR scientists in the PNW Research Station, Region 5’s Remote Sensing Laboratory, and the UW Forest RRAMS will work together to prototype, test, and refine a conceptual framework that uses the newly developed methods to measure forest structure and compare forest conditions for different areas. The research conducted pursuant to this agreement will use data and existing analyses from California’s Sierra Nevada to: • Identify the most important goals, such as identifying reference areas, mapping the effects of processes such as fire or mass mortality, or planning restorations, for the assessment and comparison framework. • Identify a core set of lidar measurements that best support the identified goals • Identify a core set of ancillary biophysical and other remote sensing data • Develop a conceptual framework for utilizing these measurements in a landscape assessment with the specific goal of being able to compare and contrast areas.