You are here

Harvard Forest >

Harvard Forest Symposium Abstract 2019

  • Title: Monitoring Forest Health and Recording Landscape Change with Lidar Scanners
  • Primary Author: Peter Boucher (University of Massachusetts - Boston)
  • Additional Authors: David Buckley Borden (Independent); Arthur Elmes (University of Massachusetts - Boston); Angela Erb (University of Massachusetts - Boston); Clarisse Hart (Harvard Forest); David Orwig (Harvard Forest); Julie Pallant (Harvard Forest); Francesco Peri (University of Massachusetts - Boston); Tim Rademacher (Harvard University); Crystal Schaaf (Boston University)
  • Abstract:

    Over the past decade, Harvard Forest has served as an integral site for empirical studies and for the advancement of research methods with Terrestrial Lidar Scanners (TLS). Lidar scans of Harvard Forest sites, such as the Smithsonian Institute ForestGEO plot, are currently contributing to research on forest disturbance monitoring and to scientific communication about changing New England forests.
    Currently, lidar measurements of canopy structure and light penetration in the ForestGEO plot are being used to monitor the impacts of a pervasive invasive insect in New England, the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA; Adelges tsugae). This research develops tools to predict tree mortality and to classify stand condition using airborne and terrestrial lidar scan data. By linking lidar-measured forest structure to forest condition, this research lays the groundwork for monitoring other forest insect disturbances, including the emerald ash borer (EAB; Agrilus planipennis), and predicting their future ecological impacts with lidar.
    In addition, collaborations with other Harvard Forest researchers and staff have yielded numerous scientific communication projects. A virtual diorama of two Harvard Forest plots is now on display in the Fisher Museum, allowing viewers to navigate a virtual forest in 3D and teaching them about lidar and landscape change along the way. In addition, terrestrial lidar scans of the Witness Tree and of the Hemlock Hospice Art Project are making their way into the public eye, being featured on Twitter and in an upcoming art exhibition.
    This work illustrates the value of Harvard Forest as hub for collaborative research on the ecological applications of lidar, as well as a venue for communicating scientific findings to a wide audience.

  • Research Category: Invasive Plants, Pests & Pathogens; Ecological Informatics and Modelling

  • Figures:
  • HFSympFigure_screenshot.pdf