[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A terrestrial laser scanner (TLS) was used to measure canopy directional gap fraction distribution in forest stands in the Swiss National Park, eastern Switzerland. A scanner model was derived to determine the expected number of laser shots in all directions, and these data were compared with the measured number of laser hits to determine directional gap fraction at eight sampling points. Directional gap fraction distributions were determined from digital hemispherical photographs recorded at the same sampling locations in the forest, and these data were compared with distributions computed from the laser scanner data. The results showed that the measured directional gap fraction distributions were similar for both hemispherical photography and TLS data with a high degree of precision in the area of overlap of orthogonal laser scans. Analysis of hemispherical photography to determine canopy gap fraction normally requires some manual data processing; laser scanners offer semiautomatic measurement of directional gap fraction distribution plus additional three-dimensional information about tree height, gap size, and foliage distributions
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Due to its measurement principle, light detection and ranging (lidar) is particularly suited to estimate the horizontal as well as vertical distribution of forest structure. Quantification and characterization of forest structure is important for the understanding of the forest ecosystem functioning and, moreover, will help to assess carbon sequestration within forests. The relationship between the signal recorded by a lidar system and the canopy structure of a forest can be accurately characterized by physically based radiative transfer models (RTMs). A three-dimensional RTM is capable of representing the complex forest canopy structure as well as the involved physical processes of the lidar pulse interactions with the vegetation. Consequently, the inversion of such an RTM presents a novel concept to retrieve biophysical forest parameters that exploits the full lidar signal and underlying physical processes. A synthetic dataset and data acquired in the Swiss National Park (SNP) successfully demonstrated the feasibility and the potential of RTM inversion to retrieve forest structure from large-footprint lidar waveform data. The SNP lidar data consist of waveforms generated from the aggregation of small-footprint lidar returns. Derived forest biophysical parameters, such as fractional cover, leaf area index, maximum tree height, and the vertical crown extension, were able to describe the horizontal and vertical forest canopy structure.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coniferous forests represent canopies with a high heterogeneity in the horizontal and as well in the vertical dimension. Consequently the interaction of incident radiation is dominated by the complex 3-D canopy structure and architecture. Radiative transfer approaches based on coupled leaf and canopy radiative transfer models still allow the simulation of the canopy reflectance as a function of leaf optical properties, canopy structure and viewing geometry as well as the retrieval of biophysical and biochemical canopy variables. High resolution imaging spectrometry supported by LIDAR data and radiative transfer models of different levels of complexities (SAIL, GeoSAIL) are employed to assess the influence of canopy heterogeneity and structure at different spatial scales. We discuss the relevance of single scene components and canopy structure to the recorded canopy reflectance and present a strategy to support radiative transfer models for biophysical and biochemical parameter retrieval relevant for forest fires.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Imaging spectrometer data were acquired over conifer stands to retrieve spatially distributed information on canopy structure and foliage water content, which may be used to assess fire risk and to manage the impact of forest fires. The study relied on a comprehensive field campaign using stratified systematic unaligned sampling ranging from full spectroradiometric characterization of the canopy to conventional measurements of biochemical and biophysical variables. Airborne imaging spectrometer data (DAIS7915 and ROSIS) were acquired parallel to the ground measurements, describing the canopy reflectance of the observed forest. Coniferous canopies are highly heterogeneous and thus the transfer of incident radiation within the canopy is dominated by its structure. We demonstrated the viability of radiative transfer representation and compared the performance of two hybrid canopy reflectance models, GeoSAIL and FLIGHT, within this heterogeneous medium. Despite the different nature and canopy representation of these models, they yielded similar results. Subsequently, the inversion of a hyperspectral GeoSAIL version demonstrated the feasibility of estimating structure and foliage water content of a coniferous canopy based on radiative transfer modeling. Estimates of the canopy variables showed reasonably accurate results and were validated through ground measurements.