DETERMINING STAND PARAMETERS FROM UAS-BASED POINT CLOUDS
Keywords: Tree Detection, Stand Parameters, Unmanned Aerial System, Canopy Height Model, Forest, MATLAB
Abstract. In Turkey, forest management plans are produced by terrestrial surveying techniques for 10 or 20 year periods, which can be considered quite long to maintain the sustainability of forests. For a successful forest management plan, it is necessary to collect accurate information about the stand parameters and store them in dynamic and robust databases. The position, number, height and closure of trees are among the most important stand parameters required for a forest management plan. Determining the position of each single tree is challenging in such an area consisting of too many interlocking trees. Hence, in this study, an object-based tree detection methodology has been developed in MATLAB programming language to determine the position of each tree top in a highly closed area. The developed algorithm uses the Canopy Height Model (CHM), which is computed from the Digital Terrain Model (DTM) and Digital Surface Model (DSM) generated by using the point cloud extracted from the images taken from a UAS (Unmanned Aerial System). The heights of trees have been determined by using the CHM. The closure of the trees has been determined with the written MATLAB script. The results show that the developed tree detection methodology detected more than 70% of the trees successfully. It can also be concluded that the stand parameters may be determined by using the UAS-based point clouds depending on the characteristics of the study area. In addition, determination of the stand parameters by using point clouds reduces the time needed to produce forest management plans.