Tree height mapping and crown delineation using LiDAR, large format aerial photographs, and unmanned aerial vehicle photogrammetry in subtropical urban forest
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AbstractAccurately identified trees can serve as a basis of estimating forest variables through the individual tree-based approach. Increasing richness of remote sensing data also provides opportunities to explore the potential uses of various types of data sources. This study adopted three widely used remote sensing data, including airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) photography and traditional digital aerial photos (DAP), and aimed to investigate their potentials on estimating tree heights and extracting individual tree information in four forested sites in Hong Kong with different tree compositions. Image-based point clouds were generated through photogrammetry. Local maxima and region growing methods were adopted to identify treetops and delineate tree crowns, respectively, with different fixed and variable window size settings. Tree heights obtained from remote sensing datasets resulted in correlation coefficients (r) = 0.58–0.94 and root-mean-square errors (RMSE) = 1.33–3.78 m compared to field-measured values and similar levels of correspondences among the datasets. Point cloud characteristics were highlighted through point-based and profile-based analysis. The highest F-scores for treetop detections in each site ranged from 0.53 to 0.69 with variations caused by different window sizes and data sources. Matched rates of reference trees were positively correlated (r = 0.19–0.49) with geometric properties including diameter at breast height (DBH), tree height, crown area, and distance to the nearest neighbour. No single remote sensing dataset was clearly superior in all methodologies in this study, but unique properties were demonstrated in terms of both data acquisitions and analysis. Knowledge and testing on both characteristics of study areas and data sources were important when deciding the best window size parameters. Heterogeneity of forest environment could be a major factor hindering the delineation performance with further influences on plot-level difference and tree-level detectability.
Acceptance Date01/01/2020
All Author(s) ListIvan H.Y. Kwong, Tung Fung
Journal nameInternational Journal of Remote Sensing
Year2020
Month7
Volume Number41
Issue Number14
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Place of PublicationLondon
Pages5228 - 5256
ISSN0143-1161
eISSN1366-5901
LanguagesEnglish-United States
KeywordsTree Height, Crown Delineation, LiDAR, UAV photogrammetry

Last updated on 2020-23-11 at 23:41