INVISTIGATION ON CANOPY HEIGHT AND DENSITY DIFFERENTIATIONS IN THE MANAGED AND UNMANAGED FOREST STANDS USING LIDAR DATA (CASE STUDY: SHASTKALATEH FOREST, GORGAN)
Keywords: Canopy height, Canopy density, Lidar, Managed forest, Unmanaged forest, Dr. Bahramnia forest plan of Gorgan
Abstract. Forest management plans are interesting to keep the forest stand natural composite and structure after silvicultural and management treatments. In order to investigate on stand differences made by management treatments, comparing of these stands with unmanaged stands as natural forests is necessary. Aerial laser scanners are providing suitable 3D information to map the horizontal and vertical characteristics of forest structures. In this study, different of canopy height and canopy cover variances between managed and unmanaged forest stands as well as in two dominant forest types were investigated using Lidar data in Dr. Bahramnia forest, Northern Iran. The in-situ information was gathered from 308 circular plots by a random systematic sampling designs. The low lidar cloud point data were used to generate accurate DEM and DSM models and plot-based height statistics metrics and canopy cover characteristics. The significant analyses were done by independent T-test between two stands in same dominant forest types. Results showed that there are no significant differences between canopy cover mean in two stands as well as forest types. Result of statistically analysis on height characteristics showed that there are a decreasing the forest height and its variance in the managed forest compared to unmanaged stands. In addition, there is a significant difference between maximum, range, and mean heights of two stands in 99 percent confidence level. However, there is no significant difference between standard deviation and canopy height variance of managed and unmanged stands. These results showd that accomplished management treatments and cuttings could lead to reducing of height variances and converting multi-layers stands to two or single layers. Results are also showed that the canopy cover densities in the managed forest stands are changing from high dense cover to dense cover.