3D forest reconstruction to improve environmental monitoring

Using terrestrial LiDAR to capture the 3D forest structure in Wytham Woods

EMRP project MetEOC2 (ENV53) produces a 3D reconstruction of forest to improve monitoring techniques.

A team of researchers from NPL, University College London and the University of Oxford used novel imaging techniques to sample a six hectare site of Wytham Woods in Oxfordshire, assessing various different forest properties so that a 3D reconstruction could be produced.

Knowledge of forests is essential to our understanding and mitigation of climate change. Covering about 30% of global land area, forests play a significant role in the delivery of ecosystem services, and the impact of natural and anthropogenic processes on forest resources are of high importance to decision-makers.

EMRP project 'Metrology for Earth Observation and Climate' aims to provide traceability for terrestrial and satellite measurements of key biophysical climate variables, including forest cover, to provide quality-assured data.

The team of researchers sampled the six hectare site of forest with a range of optical devices to assess forest structure, canopy area and the spectral properties of leaves, bark and undergrowth. The measurements taken were used in computational tree models to produce the 3D reconstruction of the site. The ultimate aim is to produce a complete 3D model of the forest for use in 3D radiative transfer models, which will validate other sensors.

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