Incorporating canopy cover for airborne-derived assessments of forest biomass in the tropical forests of Cambodia

This research examines the role of canopy cover in influencing above ground biomass (AGB) dynamics of an open canopied forest and evaluates the efficacy of individual-based and plot-scale height metrics in predicting AGB variation in the tropical forests of Angkor Thom, Cambodia. The AGB was modeled by including canopy cover from aerial imagery alongside with the two different canopy vertical height metrics derived from LiDAR; the plot average of maximum tree height (Max_CH) of individual trees, and the top of the canopy height (TCH). Two different statistical approaches, log-log ordinary least squares (OLS) and support vector regression (SVR), were used to model AGB variation in the study area. Ten different AGB models were developed using different combinations of airborne predictor variables. It was discovered that the inclusion of canopy cover estimates considerably improved the performance of AGB models for our study area. The most robust model was log-log OLS model comprising of canopy cover only (r = 0.87; RMSE = 42.8 Mg/ha). Other models that approximated field AGB closely included both Max_CH and canopy cover (r = 0.86, RMSE = 44.2 Mg/ha for SVR; and, r = 0.84, RMSE = 47.7 Mg/ha for log-log OLS). Hence, canopy cover should be included when modeling the AGB of open-canopied tropical forests.

Singh, M.; Evans, D.; Coomes, D.A.; Friess, D.A.; Tan, B.S.; Nin C.S.

PloS one 11 (5), e0154307
2016

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