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Forests 2017, 8(3), 86; doi:10.3390/f8030086

Non-Destructive, Laser-Based Individual Tree Aboveground Biomass Estimation in a Tropical Rainforest

1
TropicalMap Research Group, Faculty of Geoinformation and Real Estate, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), UTM Johor Bahru 81310, Malaysia
2
UTM Razak School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Jalan Semarak, Kuala Lumpur 54100, Malaysia
3
Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), Kepong, Selangor 52109, Malaysia
4
Centre of Studies Surveying Science and Geomatics Faculty of Architecture, Planning and Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam, Selangor 40450, Malaysia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Chris Hopkinson, Laura Chasmer and Craig Mahoney
Received: 7 November 2016 / Revised: 8 March 2017 / Accepted: 13 March 2017 / Published: 17 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue LiDAR Remote Sensing of Forest Resources)
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Abstract

Recent methods for detailed and accurate biomass and carbon stock estimation of forests have been driven by advances in remote sensing technology. The conventional approach to biomass estimation heavily relies on the tree species and site-specific allometric equations, which are based on destructive methods. This paper introduces a non-destructive, laser-based approach (terrestrial laser scanner) for individual tree aboveground biomass estimation in the Royal Belum forest reserve, Perak, Malaysia. The study area is in the state park, and it is believed to be one of the oldest rainforests in the world. The point clouds generated for 35 forest plots, using the terrestrial laser scanner, were geo-rectified and cleaned to produce separate point clouds for individual trees. The volumes of tree trunks were estimated based on a cylinder model fitted to the point clouds. The biomasses of tree trunks were calculated by multiplying the volume and the species wood density. The biomasses of branches and leaves were also estimated based on the estimated volume and density values. Branch and leaf volumes were estimated based on the fitted point clouds using an alpha-shape approach. The estimated individual biomass and the total above ground biomass were compared with the aboveground biomass (AGB) value estimated using existing allometric equations and individual tree census data collected in the field. The results show that the combination of a simple single-tree stem reconstruction and wood density can be used to estimate stem biomass comparable to the results usually obtained through existing allometric equations. However, there are several issues associated with the data and method used for branch and leaf biomass estimations, which need further improvement. View Full-Text
Keywords: aboveground tree biomass; individual tree measurement; terrestrial laser scanning; tropical rainforest; allometric equation; stem volume; wood density aboveground tree biomass; individual tree measurement; terrestrial laser scanning; tropical rainforest; allometric equation; stem volume; wood density
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Abd Rahman, M.Z.; Abu Bakar, M.A.; Razak, K.A.; Rasib, A.W.; Kanniah, K.D.; Wan Kadir, W.H.; Omar, H.; Faidi, A.; Kassim, A.R.; Abd Latif, Z. Non-Destructive, Laser-Based Individual Tree Aboveground Biomass Estimation in a Tropical Rainforest. Forests 2017, 8, 86.

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