Land degradation is becoming an issue of increasing concern in the savanna ecosystems of southern Africa. As a result, there is a growing need to map structural changes at the fine scale, while retaining the ability to aggregate up to landscape level for analysis across land use gradients. Aboveground biomass (AGB) is an important indicator of vegetation structure and therefore is the ideal variable for estimation from light detection and ranging (lidar) data. To avoid the effects of scale, this paper takes a tree-delineation approach for segmentation of the structurally heterogeneous savanna environment. Diameter at breast height (DBH) measurements collected in-field are then regressed against lidar-derived statistics to estimate DBH on a per tree basis, from which biomass follows naturally by allometry. The result is a spatially explicit biomass map of the savanna environment, believed to be one of the first of its kind, that can be scaled by aggregation of per-tree biomass distributions.
van Aardt, Jan
Kelbe, Dave, "Towards scale-invariant aboveground biomass estimation in Savanna ecosystems using small-footprint waveform lidar" (2010). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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