Current issue: 55(3)
Under compilation: 55(4)
Photogrammetric point clouds obtained with unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have emerged as an alternative source of remotely sensed data for small area forest management inventories (FMI). Nonetheless, it is often overlooked that small area FMI require considerable field data in addition to UAS data, to support the modelling of forest attributes. In this study, we propose a method whereby tree volumes by species are predicted with photogrammetric UAS data and Sentinel-2 images, using models fitted with airborne laser scanning data. The study area is in a managed boreal forest area in Eastern Finland. First, we predicted total volume with UAS point cloud metrics using a prior regression model fitted in another area with ALS data. Tree species proportions were then predicted by k nearest neighbor (k-NN) imputation based on bi-seasonal Sentinel-2 images without measuring new field plot data. Species-specific volumes were then obtained by multiplying the total volume by species proportions. The relative root mean square error (RMSE) values for total and species-specific volume predictions at the validation plot level (30 m × 30 m) were 9.0%, and 33.4–62.6%, respectively. Our approach appears promising for species-specific small area FMI in Finland and in comparable forest conditions in which suitable field plots are available.
The aim in the study was to compare alternatives for the prediction of factual sawlog volumes using airborne laser scanning (ALS) data in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) dominated forests in eastern Finland. Accurate estimates of factual sawlog volume are desirable to ease the planning of harvesting operations. The factual sawlog volume of pines was derived from visual bucking, i.e. a procedure where the defects were located on each stem during sample plot measurements. For other species, the theoretical sawlog volume was considered also as the factual sawlog volume due to data restrictions. We predicted factual sawlog volume with eight alternatives that were based on either linear mixed-effects models or k-nearest neighbour imputations. An existing sawlog reduction model, commonly used in Finland, was also tested individually and combined with a number of the alternatives, and site type information was also utilised. Model fitting and prediction was implemented at the 15 × 15 m level, but accuracy was assessed at the 30 × 30 m level. The relative root mean squared error (RMSE%) values for the factual sawlog volume predictions varied between 20.9% and 33.5%, and the best accuracy was obtained with a linear mixed-effects model. These results indicate that factual sawlog volumes in Scots pine dominated forests can be predicted with reasonable accuracy with ALS data.
Airborne laser scanning (ALS) data is nowadays often available for forest inventory purposes, but adequate field data for constructing new forest attribute models for each area may be lacking. Thus there is a need to study the transferability of existing ALS-based models among different inventory areas. The objective of our study was to apply ALS-based mixed models to estimate the diameter, height and crown base height of individual sawlog sized Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris L.) at three different inventory sites in eastern Finland. Different ALS sensors and acquisition parameters were used at each site. Multivariate mixed-effects models were fitted at one site and the models were validated at two independent test sites. Validation was carried out by applying the fixed parts of the mixed models as such, and by calibrating them using 1–3 sample trees per plot. The results showed that the relative RMSEs of the predictions were 1.2–6.5 percent points larger at the test sites compared to the training site. Systematic errors of 2.4–6.2 percent points also emerged at the test sites. However, both the RMSEs and the systematic errors decreased with calibration. The results showed that mixed-effects models of individual tree attributes can be successfully transferred and calibrated to other ALS inventory areas in a level of accuracy that appears suitable for practical applications.
The aim of this study was to examine how well stem volume, above-ground biomass and dominant height can be predicted using nationwide airborne laser scanning (ALS) based regression models. The study material consisted of nine practical ALS inventory projects taken from different parts of Finland. We used field sample plots and airborne laser scanning data to create nationwide and regional models for each response variable. The final models had one or two ALS predictors, which were chosen based on the root mean square error (RMSE), and cross-validated. Finally, we tested how much predictions would improve if the nationwide models were calibrated with a small number of regional sample plots. Although forest structures differ among different parts of Finland, the nationwide volume and biomass models performed quite well (leave-inventory-area-out RMSE 22.3% to 33.8%, mean difference [MD] –13.8% to 18.7%) compared with regional models (leave-plot-out RMSE 20.2% to 26.8%). However, the nationwide dominant height model (RMSE 5.4% to 7.7%, MD –2.0% to 2.8%, with the exception of the Tornio region – RMSE 11.4%, MD –9.1%) performed nearly as well as the regional models (RMSE 5.2% to 6.7%). The results show that the nationwide volume and biomass models provided different means than real means at regional level, because forest structure and ALS device have a considerable effect on the predictions. Large MDs appeared especially in northern Finland. Local calibration decreased the MD and RMSE of volume and biomass models. However, the nationwide dominant height model did not benefit much from calibration.