Journal Article

Reconstruction and analysis of a deciduous sapling using digital photographs or terrestrial-LiDAR technology

Sylvain Delagrange and Pascal Rochon

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 108, issue 6, pages 991-1000
Published in print October 2011 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online April 2011 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcr064
Reconstruction and analysis of a deciduous sapling using digital photographs or terrestrial-LiDAR technology

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  • Ecology and Conservation
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Background and Aims

To meet the increasing need for rapid and non-destructive extraction of canopy traits, two methods were used and compared with regard to their accuracy in estimatating 2-D and 3-D parameters of a hybrid poplar sapling.

Methods

The first method consisted of the analysis of high definition photographs in Tree Analyser (TA) software (PIAF-INRA/Kasetsart University). TA allowed the extraction of individual traits using a space carving approach. The second method utilized 3-D point clouds acquired from terrestrial light detection and ranging (T-LiDAR) scans. T-LiDAR scans were performed on trees without leaves to reconstruct the lignified structure of the sapling. From this skeleton, foliage was added using simple modelling rules extrapolated from field measurements. Validation of the estimated dimension and the accuracy of reconstruction was then achieved by comparison with an empirical data set.

Key Results

TA was found to be slightly less precise than T-LiDAR for estimating tree height, canopy height and mean canopy diameter, but for 2-D traits both methods were, however, fully satisfactory. TA tended to over-estimate total leaf area (error up to 50 %), but better estimates were obtained by reducing the size of the voxels used for calculations. In contrast, T-LiDAR estimated total leaf area with an error of <6 %. Finally, both methods led to an over-estimation of canopy volume. With respect to this trait, T-LiDAR (14·5 % deviation) greatly surpassed the accuracy of TA (up to 50 % deviation), even if the voxels used were reduced in size.

Conclusions

Taking into account their magnitude of data acquisition and analysis and their accuracy in trait estimations, both methods showed contrasting potential future uses. Specifically, T-LiDAR is a particularly promising tool for investigating the development of large perennial plants, by itself or in association with plant modelling.

Keywords: T-LiDAR; Tree Analyser software; 2-D and 3-D trait extraction; hybrid poplar; crown reconstruction; digital photographs

Journal Article.  6971 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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