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Remote Sens. 2013, 5(4), 2014-2036; doi:10.3390/rs5042014

Characterization of Canopy Layering in Forested Ecosystems Using Full Waveform Lidar

1,* , 1
1 Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland, 2181 Samuel J. LeFrak Hall, College Park, MD 20742, USA 2 Laser Remote Sensing Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 February 2013 / Revised: 12 April 2013 / Accepted: 12 April 2013 / Published: 22 April 2013
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Canopy structure, the vertical distribution of canopy material, is an important element of forest ecosystem dynamics and habitat preference. Although vertical stratification, or “canopy layering,” is a basic characterization of canopy structure for research and forest management, it is difficult to quantify at landscape scales. In this paper we describe canopy structure and develop methodologies to map forest vertical stratification in a mixed temperate forest using full-waveform lidar. Two definitions—one categorical and one continuous—are used to map canopy layering over Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, New Hampshire with lidar data collected in 2009 by NASA’s Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS). The two resulting canopy layering datasets describe variation of canopy layering throughout the forest and show that layering varies with terrain elevation and canopy height. This information should provide increased understanding of vertical structure variability and aid habitat characterization and other forest management activities.
Keywords: lidar; vertical structure; canopy layering; New Hampshire lidar; vertical structure; canopy layering; New Hampshire
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Whitehurst, A.S.; Swatantran, A.; Blair, J.B.; Hofton, M.A.; Dubayah, R. Characterization of Canopy Layering in Forested Ecosystems Using Full Waveform Lidar. Remote Sens. 2013, 5, 2014-2036.

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