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Operational Terrestrial LiDAR: Incorporating Laser Scanning into Vegetation Monitoring

Presenter: Samuel Stockton (West Virginia University)

April 4, 2024 - Current methods of assessing fire impacts are typically either time-intensive or subjective, necessitating the implementation of faster, more precise measurement methods. Terrestrial LiDAR scanners are one possible solution to this problem. Single-scan surveys, done year after year, quickly and accurately retrieve plant measurements in a fraction of the time needed for traditional measurements.  Our work utilizes this technology to assess regeneration over four years following a prescribed burn in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. We compared scans taken over this period to composite burn index measurements taken after the fire in order to examine the relationships between traditional observation methods and scan-derived forest structure measurements. This research expands the capacity of an emergent remote sensing technology to inform fuel and vegetation management. I will discuss initial findings, methods, and potential of this technology in assessing fire effects.


Samuel Stockton Sam is a graduate student and researcher in the Remote Sensing Lab at West Virginia University. After obtaining degrees in education and geography from Concord University, he worked in restoration and invasive species management over a course of two years on federal lands in Utah. Before beginning work for his master’s degree, he worked as a land restoration crew lead on military lands in Alaska. His current work investigates the capacities of terrestrial laser scanners to rapidly measure fine-scale forest characteristics such as regeneration.


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