MANGROVE PLANTATION FOREST ASSESSMENT USING STRUCTURAL ATTRIBUTES DERIVED FROM LIGHT DETECTION AND RANGING (LiDAR) DATA
Keywords: Mangroves, Rhizophoraceae, Plantation, Point Cloud, LiDAR
Abstract. Estimating the structural and functional attributes of forests is integral in performing management strategies and for understanding forest ecosystem functions. Field sampling methods through plot level is one of the known strategies in forest studies; however, these methods have its limitations and are prone to subjected biases. Remote Sensing data, particularly that of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) can be utilized to alleviate the limitations of extracting forest structure parameters. The study aims to characterize a Rhizophoraceae-dominated mangrove forest plantation. Point cloud distribution within a 1-hectare plot was processed by utilizing thirty (30) samples of 5x5 meter plots, which were analysed for the characterization and forest structure assessment. Point densities were grouped at intervals of 10% of the plot’s maximum height (Height at Bincentile or HBn) to determine where the clustering of points occur per plot. The result shows that most of the points are clustered at HBn with height values ranging from 2.98 to 4.15 meters for plots located at the middle part of the forest, with a standard deviation of 1.78 to 3.69, respectively. On the other hand, sample plots that are located at the periphery part of the forest shows that the point clustering occurs at different heights ranging from 1.71 meters to 4.43 meters, with standard deviation values ranging from 1.69 to 3.81.Plots that are located along the fringes of the forest reflect a stunted clustering of points, while plots that explicitly show mangrove trimmings and cuts reflect even distribution in terms of point density within each HBn. Both species present in the area (R. mucronata and R. apiculata) exhibits similar clustering, which could represent detection of Rhizophoraceae mangroves.