Point Cloud V1 Issue 2 (Dec 2015)



The Point Cloud, AWARE’s Electronic Newsletter
Vol. 1, Issue 2. Date: 17/12/2015
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Happy Holidays!

Welcome to The Point Cloud, AWARE’s electronic newsletter! We will be sending this newsletter on a monthly basis to keep you updated on all the interesting activities happening in AWARE.

AWARE (Assessment of Wood Attributes from Remote sEnsing) is a five year, $3.35M project to research the use of remote sensing in enhancing forest inventory management and improving modelling of forested ecosystems.
In this edition, we profile Sean Lamb, an MSc at UNB. He is working under the supervision of David Maclean and Chris Hennigar on how LiDAR can be used to improve pre-harvest ground verification approaches for assessing optimum year of commercial thinning.
There’s lots happening with meetings and conferences. One of our researchers, Karin van Ewijk, has written a summary on the SilviLaser 2015 conference in France last September. Next summer, on May 24-26th will be the first AGM for the AWARE project. From June 12-17th, 2016, the 8th international conference of IUFRO will be held in Baie-St-Paul, Quebec. Alexis Achim is organizing the proceedings.
We are also recruiting an MSc student to conduct research on how wood fibre is impacted by changing site conditions. Please visit: https://aware.forestry.ubc.ca/research-opportunities/ for more information.

Featured Researcher: Sean Lamb

Sean Lamb started his forestry studies at Sir Sandford Fleming College in Lindsay, Ontario and moved to Fredericton, New Brunswick upon completion of the program to continue his education at the University of New Brunswick (UNB). During his undergraduate BScF degree, Sean worked with Dr. Chris Hennigar assisting with data management for the New Brunswick Growth and Yield Unit and completed his undergraduate thesis, co-supervised by Dr. Hennigar and Dr. David MacLean, focusing on the effects of silvicultural treatments on managed stands in New Brunswick. Upon graduating, Sean was awarded the Faculty of Forestry Senior Project Award for the best undergraduate thesis as well as the Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick Silver Medal, awarded to the student with the most outstanding academic performance within the faculty. Additionally, Sean was awarded an NSERC Canadian Graduate Scholarship for his proposed research within the AWARE program. Prior to beginning his master’s in Forestry at UNB in September 2014, Sean worked with Dr. MacLean installing and measuring permanent sample plots in Quebec to assess spruce budworm defoliation for a remote sensing-based research project.

Research Snapshot: Question 6

Sean is currently working on Question 6 of Theme 2 for AWARE, supervised by Drs. MacLean and Hennigar, and advised by Dr. Doug Pitt (FP-innovations) and Greg Adams and David Young of J.D. Irving, Limited. The research questions asks how can LiDAR be used to improve pre-harvest ground verification and assess optimum year of commercial thinning of plantations. Sean’s research area is J.D. Irving, Limited’s Black Brook District in northwestern New Brunswick. This privately owned forest contains more than 85,000 ha of spruce plantations with wall-to-wall LiDAR derived forest inventory at 20×20 m resolution, as well as over 300 plantation permanent sample plots with over 1,200 measurements. Currently, LiDAR-derived forest inventory is being used within Black Brook to aid in pre-harvest ground verification, however, as years pass the LiDAR predictions become less representative of the forest; a problem shared by all inventory methods. To make effective silviculture decisions that will optimize the production of the forest and utilize the most current LiDAR-derived inventory, a method for forecasting the inventory is crucial to forest management.
Sean is working on two different approaches for forecasting the development of planted stands using LiDAR. Approach 1 attempts to match a sample plot measurement from a planted spruce stand with each LiDAR cell based on planted species and the most similar combination of forest inventory attributes (e.g., basal area, total volume, gross merchantable volume, top height, etc.). Assigning the tree-list from the matched sample plot to the LiDAR cell will provide an estimated tree-list for each LiDAR cell that can then be input into a locally calibrated stand growth model, thus forecasting the development of each LiDAR cell. Approach 2 uses PSP measurement series from the Black Brook District to build statistical models that estimate future plot inventory as a function of current plot inventory. These models can then be applied to each LiDAR cell providing an estimate of future conditions. To date, both approaches have been completed and are in the process of being validated with recent plot measurements to determine which approach yields the most accurate results.

SilviLaser Conference Review – Karin

“What are the recent advances in the development and application of ALS/LiDAR that can improve our understanding of forest ecosystem functioning and facilitate sustainable forest management?” From September 28 to 30, 2015 more than 150 participants from all over the world came together at La Grande Motte in southern France, to attend the 14th SilviLaser Conference to address these questions. SilviLaser was part of the ISPRS Geospatial Week which was attended by approximately 500 delegates from close to 50 countries.

The tone for the conference was set by Dr. Mike Wulder’s (Canadian Forest Service, Canada) plenary address which focused on the importance of developing new and creative LiDAR-based methods to support sustainable forest management. Topics ranged from new scientific insights on forest recovery processes to trans-disciplinary applications, advances in global terrestrial monitoring through the constellation of Earth orbiting satellites (both old and new), and finally how we can bring all these data from different sources together in repositories that are open access, interoperable, timely and “analysis ready”. New technical developments and scientific applications were also emphasized by two of the key note speakers. Dr. Bruce Cook (on behalf of Dr. David Harding) (NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center, USA) spoke about NASA’s planned space missions: GEDI (on the ISS) and ICESat-2, and the airborne systems that provide the testing platforms for these space missions, e.g. SIMPL, MABEL, G-Liht. Dr. Benoît St-Onge (Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada) presented new developments in the context of LiDAR and photogrammetric point clouds (PPC), multispectral LiDAR systems – resulting in colored 3D point clouds – and the fusion of these systems and approaches.

Another highlight of the conference was the first – and only non-LiDAR – key note speaker Professor Hallé (Professor Emeritus of the University of Montpellier, France). With his animated drawings of tree architecture and tropical forest structure he showed the importance of structure in tropical ecosystem functioning with the take home question for the audience, “Can LiDAR play a role in enhancing our understanding of these forest ecosystems?”

SilviLaser 2015 ended with a discussion forum headed by Dr. Nicolas Coops, Dr. Ross Hill, Dr. Alan Strahler, Dr. Paul Treitz, and Dr. Mike Wulder. Emphasis was placed on the development of innovative LiDAR data analysis for characterizing forest structure, understanding forest processes, and supporting a range of forest services. Engaging forest industry in addressing these goals was also a focal point.

Sylvie Durrieu (Irstea, France) and Cédric Véga (IGN, France), and their assistants deserve many thanks for organizing this year’s successful SilviLaser Conference. In all, there were 81 oral presentations and 35 posters that were presented over three days. Coffee breaks, lunches, an ice breaker and cocktail hour provided ample opportunity to network, view posters and visit exhibitors. The city itself, La Grande Motte, with its unique architecture and lively waterfront area provided a beautiful backdrop for the conference.
If this has sparked your interest in the many talks and posters presented at SilviLaser 2015, please visit: https://silvilaser2015.teledetection.fr

Upcoming Conference – WOOD QC 2016

The 8th international conference of IUFRO Working Parties 5.01.04 and 3.02.04: ‘Modelling Wood Quality, Supply and Value Chain Networks’ will take place from 12 – 17 June 2016 in Baie-St-Paul, Quebec.
Laval University, the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre and FPInnovations will host this 8th meeting of Working Party 5.01.04 – Wood Quality Modelling which is being held for the first time in Eastern Canada. Past meetings have taken place in Sweden (1994), South Africa (1996), France (1999), Canada (2002), New Zealand (2005), Finland (2008) and France (2013). In an effort to stimulate collaboration and knowledge transfer across IUFRO divisions, the 2016 edition will be held in conjunction with Working Party 3.04.02 – Supply Chain Management. The conference brings together scientists from around the world to share ideas and innovations in the fields of forest growth and wood quality modelling, and wood supply and value chain network optimisation. A key objective of the conference is to foster international partnerships aimed at improving data acquisition and sharing, modelling methods, model integration and the development of management tools that can ultimately increase the value of the forest resource. The conference will be a forum for presenting new technologies and approaches demonstrating how detailed knowledge of wood fibre characteristics is an essential component of efficient wood value chain networks.

Conference Themes

  • Understanding links between silviculture and wood fibre properties
  • Building integrated model chains for predicting forest growth, wood quality and value in a changing environment
  • Multi-scale modelling of wood properties: from the cell wall to end-products
  • Wood supply and value chain modelling and optimisation
  • Efficient segregation of fiber supplies
  • Enhanced inventory methods for mapping wood quality
  • Integration of genetic selection and genomics with tree and wood quality models
  • Development and application of simulation tools for the forest sector

AWARE First Annual General Meeting

Book your calendars and bring your lobster bibs! The first AWARE AGM will be held on May 24-26, 2016 in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. The AGM will update attendees on the research progress to date and provide an excellent opportunity to network with AWARE researchers, government officials and representatives from our industrial partners.

More details to follow shortly!

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