Measuring effective leaf area index, foliage profile, and stand height in New England forest stands using a full-waveform ground-based lidar

Feng Zhao, Xiaoyuan Yang, Mitchell A. Schull, Miguel O. Román-Colón, Tian Yao, Zhuosen Wang, Qingling Zhang, David L.B. Jupp, Jenny L. Lovell, Darius S. Culvenor, Glenn J. Newnham, Andrew D. Richardson, Wenge Ni-Meister, Crystal L. Schaaf, Curtis E. Woodcock, Alan H. Strahler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


Effective leaf area index (LAI) retrievals from a scanning, ground-based, near-infrared (1064. nm) lidar that digitizes the full return waveform, the Echidna Validation Instrument (EVI), are in good agreement with those obtained from both hemispherical photography and the Li-Cor LAI-2000 Plant Canopy Analyzer. We conducted trials at 28 plots within six stands of hardwoods and conifers of varying height and stocking densities at Harvard Forest, Massachusetts, Bartlett Experimental Forest, New Hampshire, and Howland Experimental Forest, Maine, in July 2007. Effective LAI values retrieved by four methods, which ranged from 3.42 to 5.25 depending on the site and method, were not significantly different (β < 0.1 among four methods). The LAI values also matched published values well. Foliage profiles (leaf area with height) retrieved from the lidar scans, although not independently validated, were consistent with stand structure as observed and as measured by conventional methods. Canopy mean top height, as determined from the foliage profiles, deviated from mean RH100 values obtained from the Lidar Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS) airborne large-footprint lidar system at 27 plots by - 0.91. m with RMSE = 2.04. m, documenting the ability of the EVI to retrieve stand height. The Echidna Validation Instrument is the first realization of the Echidna® lidar concept, devised by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), for measuring forest structure using full-waveform, ground-based, scanning lidar.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2954-2964
Number of pages11
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 15 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Foliage profile
  • Height
  • Hemispherical photograph
  • LAI
  • LAI-2000
  • LVIS
  • Lidar
  • New England

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Geology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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