New technology for characterising forest structure and biomass at ‘Super Sites’ for EO cal/val across the tropics

Durée : 2021 - 2023
Programme : ESA
Portée : Internationale

Traditionally forest mensuration involves measuring the diameter at breast height (dbH), the height of the dominant trees and the tree species. This technique is labour and time intensive and in the tropics logistically challenging, which typically limits the measured area to a few 1 ha plots. More recently airborne, terrestrial and UAV based lidar sensors have been identified as promising technology to extend the classical census techniques. While airborne lidar has become a standard technique terrestrial and UAV based lidar are new technologies that have so far been demonstrated only for limited cases, especially in tropical environments. While these techniques cannot replace classical census methods – they cannot determine the tree species, which is essential in estimating AGB – first results indicate that they are an efficient method to complement classical census methods. In particular they offer an economic way to estimate AGB over larger areas, which is essential in the validation of EO products. In this activity TLS and UAV-LS technologies shall be demonstrated and assessed in tropical environment and synergies and complementarities with traditional methods, i.e. ground based forest mensuration and ALS, shall be analysed. In addition this activity shall lead to improved processing methods that leverage the strengths of different techniques.


  • ULC
  • Wageningen
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Edimburg
  • Leeds University
  • EDB
  • Ecofog