914402 Forest resource monitoring with terrestrial laser scanning

Lecture and exercise
Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Tockner, Andreas , Nothdurft, Arne , Wimmer, Rupert , Konnerth, Johannes
Offered in
Wintersemester 2023/24
Languages of instruction


Laser scanning technology creates three-dimensional point clouds of objects. With appropriate software it can be used to create digital twins of forest stands, where every single tree can be measured in detail. Beyond the classical parameters like diameter at breast height (DBH), tree height and crown dimensions there is more information to be extracted. Wood quality might be hidden somewhere in the 3D-data, and this can be evaluated by collecting reference data. At the standing tree level there are advanced measuring techniques, and analysis of the collected data allows to improve the understanding of trees, in connection with the potential uses of the natural resource wood.

This year we focus on linking
* wood density (and possible wood decay in the standing tree) with
* individual tree measurements from 3D laser scanning.

We chose two forest plots where we are going to perform person-carried laser scanning with the GeoSLAM ZEB Horizon. Additionally we are going to measure density profiles on standing trees by a resistograph, which is an electronically controlled drill for measuring the relative density of wood. Acquiring the data gives students the insight into scientific field-work in forest resource monitoring and helps to understand patterns in the data before analysis.

From the 3D point clouds we are going to extract individual tree measurements with existing software routines, which are nowadays commonly used for point cloud processing. Applying this workflow teaches students how to independently analyze forest point clouds, deal with border effects and interpret the results. A relationship between the 3D measurements (tree dimensions, crown geometry, etc) and the density profiles shall be analyzed in the data. This simple statistic quest introduces students in a practical manner to the application of basic regression models. The evaluation of the results follows scientific standards with presenting the results to an audience with follow-up discussion, writing a structured report and peer-reviewing the outcome.

Previous knowledge expected

Interest in 3D laser scanning technology and measuring of trees; a general unerstanding of wood as a material

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

Getting an overview of ground-based laser scanning technology in forest inventory and its application.
Practicing novel digital measurement and automated processing of individual tree parameters.
Examining the relationship of wood quality with the outer tree shape.
Assessing mechanical wood characteristics according to digital crown morphology.
Understanding the role of laser scanning technology in future applications to quantify renewable resources.
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.