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Modelling forests from satellites

Mat Disney at Vancouver conference

Modelling forests from satellites

Dr. Mathias Disney attended the 10th annual Silvilaser meeting, held in Vancouver, Canada, on September 16-18th, to talk about new modelling developments led by the remote sensing group at UCL Geography. The meeting brings together international researchers from a range of backgrounds interested in the application of laser technology for measuring and modelling forests.

Lidar (light detection and ranging) is a means of measuring forest canopy height and tree structure from the ground, from aircraft and even from space. Lidar instruments and measurements are developing rapidly, and are of great interest for mapping biomass (carbon stocks) and timber quality, measuring how trees grow and develop in different forest ecosystems, and for detecting deforestation and disturbance. Mat presented new work showing how detailed 3D models, developed at UCL, can be used for simulating and testing lidar systems in forests.

Mat also visited colleagues at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab to discuss lidar surveys of forests in West Africa.

The Figure shows a 'lidar-eye' view of laser points simulated from a scots pine tree. The left panel is the full tree, and the right panel shows laser returns from twigs in the tree that hold needles (the 'green' part of the tree).



Scots Pine

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