Statistical analysis of airborne LiDAR data for forest classification in the Strzelecki Ranges, Victoria, Australia

Zhang, Z. and Liu, X. and Peterson, J. and Wright, W. (2011) Statistical analysis of airborne LiDAR data for forest classification in the Strzelecki Ranges, Victoria, Australia. In: 19th International Congress on Modelling and Simulation (MODSIM 2011): Sustaining Our Future: Understanding and Living with Uncertainty, 12-16 Dec 2011, Perth, Australia.

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Although remotely sensed data have been widely explored for forest applications, passive remote sensing techniques are limited in their ability to capture forest structural complexity, particularly in uneven-aged, mixed species forests with multiple canopy layers. Generally, these techniques are only able to provide information on horizontal (two-dimensional) forest extent. The vertical forest structure (or the interior of the canopy and understorey vegetation) cannot be mapped using these passive remote sensing techniques. Fortunately, it has been shown that active remote sensing techniques via airborne LiDAR (light detection and ranging) with capability of canopy penetration yields such high density sampling that detailed description of the forest structure in three-dimensions can be obtained. Accordingly, much interest is attached to exploring the application of this approach for identifying the distribution of designated vegetation
communities. However, the suitability of LiDAR data for the classification of forests with complex structures, particularly for cool temperate rainforest and neighbouring uneven-aged mixed forests in a severely disturbed landscape has hitherto remained untested. This study applied airborne LiDAR data for the classification of cool temperate rainforest dominated by Myrtle Beech (Nothofagus cunninghamii) and adjacent forests including naturally regenerated Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans), mixed forest consisting of overstorey Mountain Ash and understorey Myrtle Beech, Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata), and hardwood plantation dominated by Shining Gum (Eucalyptus nitens) in
the Strzelecki Ranges, Victoria, Australia. LiDAR data were extracted within each of the forest plots. Nonground laser returns were used to generate forest height profiles for the analysis of the spatial distribution of vertical forest structure for the plots dominated by different forest types. The k-means clustering algorithm was performed on each of the plots to stratify the vertical forest structure into three layers, representing the overstorey, mid-storey and lower storey of the plot-level forests. Variables were then calculated from the LiDAR data based on the three-layered structure for each plot. The statistical analyses, which included oneway ANOVA (analysis of variance) and the post hoc tests, identified effective variables for forest type classifications. Linear discriminant analysis with cross-validation was carried out to classify the forest types and assess the classification accuracy using error matrixes. This study demonstrated the applicability of
airborne LiDAR for the classification of the Australian cool temperate rainforest and adjacent forests in the study area.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: This publication is copyright. It may be reproduced in whole or in part for the purposes of study, research, or review, but is subject to the inclusion of an acknowledgment of the source. Responsibility for the contents of these papers rests upon the authors and not on the Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand Inc.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Surveying and Land Information
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2012 02:29
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2015 23:22
Uncontrolled Keywords: LiDAR; cool temperate rainforest; forest classification; statistical analysis; Strzelecki Ranges
Fields of Research : 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0705 Forestry Sciences > 070504 Forestry Management and Environment
09 Engineering > 0909 Geomatic Engineering > 090905 Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
09 Engineering > 0909 Geomatic Engineering > 090903 Geospatial Information Systems
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9613 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas > 961306 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas in Forest and Woodlands Environments

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