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Realistic forest stand reconstruction from terrestrial LiDAR for radiative transfer modelling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Article number933
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Forest biophysical variables derived from remote sensing observations are vital for climate research. The combination of structurally and radiometrically accurate 3D "virtual" forests with radiative transfer (RT) models creates a powerful tool to facilitate the calibration and validation of remote sensing data and derived biophysical products by helping us understand the assumptions made in data processing algorithms. We present a workflow that uses highly detailed 3D terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) data to generate virtual forests for RT model simulations. Our approach to forest stand reconstruction from a co-registered point cloud is unique as it models each tree individually. Our approach follows three steps: (1) tree segmentation; (2) tree structure modelling and (3) leaf addition. To demonstrate this approach, we present the measurement and construction of a one hectare model of the deciduous forest in Wytham Woods (Oxford, UK). The model contains 559 individual trees. We matched the TLS data with traditional census data to determine the species of each individual tree and allocate species-specific radiometric properties. Our modelling framework is generic, highly transferable and adjustable to data collected with other TLS instruments and different ecosystems. The Wytham Woods virtual forest is made publicly available through an online repository.

ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • 3D modelling, Calibration and validation, End-to-end traceability, Forestry, Radiative transfer, Terrestrial LiDAR, Tree reconstruction

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Field of science, Statistics Finland

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