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Harvard Forest Symposium Abstract 2018

  • Title: Using Terrestrial Laser Scanning at Harvard Forest, MA to Characterize Ecological Data
  • Primary Author: David Orwig (Harvard Forest)
  • Additional Authors: Peter Boucher (University of Massachusetts - Boston); Z Li (Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies); Ian Paynter (UMass Boston); Edward Saenz (University of Massachusetts - Boston); Crystal Schaaf (Boston University)
  • Abstract:

    Contemporary terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) is increasingly being used in forest ecology applications to examine ecosystem properties at increasing spatial and temporal scales. Harvard Forest (HF) in Petersham, MA has become a testing ground for TLS applications because it is an LTER site, a NEON location, and contains the 35 ha ForestGEO plot which is part of Smithsonian Institutes’ Forest Global Earth Observatory. The combination of long-term field plots, eddy flux towers, and the detailed past historical records has made HF very appealing for a variety of remote sensing studies. Terrestrial laser scanners, including three pioneering research instruments: the Echidna Validation Instrument, the Dual-Wavelength Echidna Lidar (DWEL) and the Compact Biomass Lidar (CBL), have already been used both independently and in conjunction with airborne laser scanning (ALS) data and forest census data to characterize forest dynamics. TLS approaches include 3D reconstructions of a plot over time, establishing the impact of ice storm damage on forest canopy structure, and characterizing eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) canopy health affected by an invasive insect, the hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae). Efforts such as those deployed at Harvard Forest are demonstrating the power of TLS as a tool for monitoring ecological dynamics, identifying emerging forest health issues, measuring forest biomass, and capturing ecological data relevant to other disciplines.

  • Research Category: Invasive Plants, Pests & Pathogens; Large Experiments and Permanent Plot Studies