Small-footprint lidar estimations of sagebrush canopy characteristics

Jessica J. Mitchell, Nancy F. Glenn, Temuulen T. Sankey, de Wayne R. Derryberry, Matthew O. Anderson, Ryan C. Hruska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


The height and shape of shrub canopies are critical measurements for characterizing shrub steppe rangelands. Remote sensing technologies might provide an efficient method to acquire these measurements across large areas. This study compared point-cloud and rasterized lidar data to field-measured sagebrush height and shape to quantify the correlation between field-based and lidar-derived estimates. The results demonstrated that discrete return, small-footprint lidar with high point density (9.46 points/m2) can provide strong predictions of true sagebrush height (R2 of 0.84 to 0.86), but with a consistent underestimation of approximately 30 percent. Our results provided the first successful lidar-based descriptors of sagebrush shape with R2 values of 0.65, 0.74, and 0.78 for respective predictions of shortest canopy diameter, longest canopy diameter, and canopy area. Future studies can extend lidar-derived shrub height and shape measurements to canopy volume, cover, and biomass estimates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-530
Number of pages10
JournalPhotogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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