Multicopter drone with Routescene LidarPod underneath flying above forestry with powerline behind.

UAV LiDAR for Forestry

The active management of forests and woodlands brings social, economic and environmental benefits. The benefits of UAV LiDAR in forest management are wide and varied.

The ability to simultaneously visualize the ground and model the canopy structure provides significant advantages to the forestry industry. Traditionally, foresters and land managers have relied on topographic maps for terrain classification and time consuming field-based surveys to obtain tree volumes and height information. LiDAR data provides significant improvements over both these techniques.

ApplicationSpecific benefits of UAV LiDAR in the Forestry sector
Forest management

Foresters use LiDAR data to understand the forest canopy and terrain, to assist with forest management. Examples include assessing forest health, calculate forest biomass, classify terrain and identify drainage patterns.

Operational activities

Road planning and integration of access development with other industries, fertilisation, harvest design, detailed cut block plan development, planning cable-based timber harvest systems and timber inventory height refinement.

Vegetation mapping within forests

To measure the three-dimensional characteristics of plant canopies and estimate the vertical structure of vegetation communities. A community’s vegetation composition, structure and patterns is important for a variety of natural-resource planning and monitoring activities including assessing fuel loads and fire risk, wildlife habitat, impact from recreational activities and monitoring general forest trends and conditions.

Woodland valuation

To understand the volume and growth rate of trees to calculate the value of the forest. Annual measurements per species to determine growth enables foresters to maximize the value of forests and plan resources.

Archeological prospecting in woodland sites

LiDAR has the potential to show many archaeological features previously hidden from aerial reconnaissance by woodland cover.

Unlike other aerial surveys such as photography, LiDAR can ‘see through’ woodland and produce 3D models of the forest: the canopy, undergrowth and with optimum conditions, the floor itself.

A bare earth model or Digital Terrain Model (DTM) can reveal archaeological earthworks and historical features that have never previously been recorded in aerial photographs as they were hidden beneath the canopy.

Use cases