Research article

Forest delineation based on LiDAR data and vertical accuracy of the terrain model in forest and non-forest area

Ivan Sačkov, Miroslav Kardoš

Ivan Sačkov
National Forest Centre, Forest Research Institute Zvolen, Department of Forest Inventory and Management, T. G. Masaryka 22, Zvolen, 960 92, Slovakia
Miroslav Kardoš
Technical University in Zvolen, Faculty of Forestry, Department of Forest Management and Geodesy, T. G. Masaryka 24, Zvolen, 960 53, Slovakia. Email:

Online First: February 13, 2014
Sačkov, I., Kardoš, M. 2014. Forest delineation based on LiDAR data and vertical accuracy of the terrain model in forest and non-forest area. Annals of Forest Research DOI:10.15287/afr.2014.169

This paper deals with the use of airborne laser scanning data (ALS) in the process of the automatic delineation of forest and the generation of digital terrain models (DTM) in forested and nonforested land. The area of interest where the procedures presented in this study were examined is part of the University Forest Enterprise (UFE), Technical University in Zvolen. Within the forest delineation is presented a solution that iteratively takes into account the criterion of minimum area, height, width and crown coverage (CC). At the same time this approach also evaluates the mutual distance of identified crowns and the presence of buildings. Compared with manually identified forest boundaries, the accuracy of the automated procedure in the model area reached the value of 93%. In the DTM generation, various alternative methods of interpolation and conversion were used, while ALS data from the  summer and winter aspects were also available. The results showed that laser scanning in the area of interest provided systematically overestimated data for the DTM generation. The largest deviations of the DTM were found in terrains with a significant slope, regardless of the complexity of the afforestation structure (except for the youngest forest). In older stands and unforested areas with a moderate slope, the DTM accuracy achieved was in the range ±6-17 cm.

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