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Weighing trees with lasers

Mat Disney keynote at Virginia Tech

Weighing trees with lasers

Dr Mat Disney was a keynote speaker at the biennial Silvilaser international meeting, held this year on October 10-12 at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg in Virginia, USA.

This was the 15th biennial international meeting bringing together scientists and commercial forestry professionals to discuss the latest applications of lidar in all its guises to measuring and managing trees and forests.

Mat’s talk, "Weighing trees with lasers: TLS for biomass from tropical forests to city churchyards", was a showcase of some of the work he and colleagues have been doing in measuring forest structure and biomass, not just in the tropics but also closer to home (see image).

The conference also focused on how lidar has become a key tool for commercial forestry, forest monitoring, precision agriculture, change dynamics, and biodiversity applications, particularly in tropical regions.

As Mat reflected:

"There's been so much rapid development of lidar over the last few years, from ground-based to new high-tech drone applications, airborne and satellites - it's amazing to see the range of applications here at Silvilaser".

Another UCL Geography colleague, Dr Phil Wilkes, also showed some of their new work on urban trees. Phil and Mat have found that pockets of urban trees, such as Highgate Cemetery in London, have such large, old trees that they can contain as much carbon per unit area as tropical forests!


See also:


London plane trees in Russell Square, captured using terrestrial laser scanning. The number below each tree refers to the estimated mass of the tree. (Phil Wilkes)

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