Point Cloud V1 Issue 3 (Mar 2016)



The Point Cloud, AWARE’s Electronic Newsletter
Vol. 1, Issue 3. Date: 10/03/2016
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Welcome to the Point Cloud. In this edition:
We’d like to extend our congratulations to Jean-Romain Roussel (Q8, Laval) for passing his candidacy exam and to Shane Furze (Q10,UNB) for winning the 2015 ESRI Young Scholar for Canada Award.

Featured Researcher: Rachel Parron

Rachel Parron is an MSc student at UQAM, working under the supervision of Dr. Benoit St-Onge. She is working on species recognition (Q22), part of Theme 4.

Rachel’s interest in nature dates back to her childhood, which she spent playing outside, fishing and camping with her family. Later, as teenager, she had the chance to participate in an outdoor activities program during high school. They went canoeing, hiking, bicycle touring, and snowshoeing. It was a very enriching experience for her, which led her to earn a technical degree in Wildlife Management in 2006. This is where she got her first exposure to GIS, primarily for habitat assessment and land use. As part of the program, she did an internship at Parc National d’Oka, helping with activities related to reforestation and subsequent preservation of areas damaged by overuse. In 2009, she received a degree in Biology from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). Afterward graduating, she worked as a guide at the Biodôme and then in the arboretum at the Montreal Botanical Garden.

Rachel enrolled in the geomatics program at UQAM to both fulfill her interests and learn new and useful tools for her career. For her UQAM internship requirements, she worked on a project to improve agricultural practices using riparian buffer zones planted with willows. She considers herself fortunate to complete her master degree in the LCDF because it allows her to work on different subjects that are in her range of interest at the same time – biology, forestry and GIS. For her research on species identification (Question 22), she is also acquiring skills in fields that are new to her – programming and database management. Rachel foresees herself continuing to work in remote sensing and programming, whether it is applied to forestry or agriculture.

When she’s not in front of her computer, Rachel rides her bike, trains in martial arts, plays outdoors or make a mess in the kitchen and sewing room.

Research Snapshot : Forest Attribute Derivations

Dr. Karin van Ewijk is a post-doctoral researcher at Queens, working with Dr. Paul Treitz. She is working on deriving forest attributes (Q4) at the stand level (Theme 2).

With recent advances in airborne laser scanning (ALS) technology, i.e. higher pulse densities in discrete return systems, small-footprint full waveform systems and multispectral ALS systems, there are opportunities to develop new ALS metrics for characterizing the vertical distribution of foliage from the understory to the top of the canopy as well as the capacity for identifying tree species and/or groups of species. These metrics in turn may be used to predict forest resource inventory (FRI) attributes such as diameter and basal area (BA) distributions and eventually lumber grade and log size classes. However, to date, many ALS metrics have been developed and a large subset of these metrics can be linked to only a few forest stand characteristics. It is therefore pertinent that newly developed ALS metrics capture additional forest structural information and do not replicate what existing metrics already capture.

Karin and Paul Treitz (Queen’s University), in collaboration with other AWARE researchers: Jean-Romain Roussel, Alexis Achim (Université de Laval), John Caspersen (University of Toronto), Murray Woods, Trevor Jones (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry) and Doug Pitt (Natural Resources Canada) are initially assessing how a number of “standard” (i.e., measures of central tendency, dispersion, percentiles, proportions and densities) and “newer” (i.e. leaf area density profile metrics, gap fraction, and metrics based on canopy height models) ALS metrics relate to different forest stand characteristics and a number of FRI attributes (QDBH, BA, stem density, diameter/BA distributions). The goal is to identify a core set of ALS metrics that relate to these forest stand characteristics and have high predictive power for the estimation of FRI attributes. This research team has access to ALS and field data for three principal forest sites within Ontario (two sites located within central Ontario’s Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Forest Region [i.e., Petawawa Research Forest and Haliburton Forest] and one in a boreal mixedwood forest in northeastern Ontario [i.e., Hearst Forest]) and will examine the ability to apply these core sets of ALS metrics and predictive models of FRI attributes to these forest types within Ontario.

CWFC JD Irving Meeting

On Jan. 19th and 20th, the CWFC held its EFI cross country roundup in conjunction with JD Irving’s New Brunswick Team meeting. This meeting has grown considerably since its inception, with approximately 40 people attending in person and another 100 viewing the presentations remotely. The afternoon of the first day was devoted to CWFC research updates from Western Canada, Ontario, Newfoundland, Quebec and New Brunswick. The second day of the meeting focussed on topics relevant to New Brunswick research and included presentations from JD Irving, the government of New Brunswick and the National Hardwood Research Institute.

There were several AWARE presentations at this session. Curtis Marr started the meeting with an overview of the AWARE project. On the second day, Benoit St. Onge gave an update on his research with species identification, in addition to presentations from Sean Lamb and David Maclean on commercial thinning, Shawn Donovan and David Maclean on spruce budworm outbreak monitoring, and Shane Furze and Paul Arp`s work on hydrology and productivity mapping.

This meeting was an excellent forum for CFI updates across the country, and for keeping on top of the research that is happening in and around New Brunswick. If you would like to attend the next session, contact Katalijn MacaFee for information.

Chronosequence Data Search
Alexis Achim is looking for post-fire chronosequence data with a very specific set of parameters.

  • Plots with a sufficient range of time-since-fire (ideally 1000+ years) carbon dated
  • Plot attributes along with the possibility to destructively sample for wood attributes
  • Black spruce presence

If you know of such a set, please contact Alexis Achim.

Post-Doctoral Research Opportunity


Location: Applied Geomatics Department, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada
Timeframe: Up to two years starting between April 2016 and September 2016

The Terrestrial LiDAR research group at the Applied Geomatics Department of the Université de Sherbrooke is seeking to hire a post-doctoral candidate. The research will be focussed on the development of methods to estimate tree and stand structural attributes from point cloud data acquired with terrestrial scanners in forested environments. These new methods will take advantage of architectural models to describe detailed branching structure and foliage distribution in trees. The candidate should have a strong background in programming and LiDAR. The ideal candidate will:
  1. be experienced with developing algorithms to deal with point clouds and able to implement them in C++ on an open source platform for use and distribution (e.g. Computree)
  2. have demonstrated practical experience to process terrestrial LiDAR data
  3. have knowledge of architectural models to simulate detailed tree structure
The post-doctoral candidate will work on methods to improve the current processing of terrestrial LiDAR data to simulate tree structure with the objective to publish these methods in peer-reviewed scientific journals. The post-doctoral candidate will be integrated in a team of 3 PhD and 3 MSc. students working on research projects involving the use of terrestrial LiDAR in forestry. The department offers a stimulating scientific environment for learning, with approximately 60 active graduate students and post-doctoral candidates. The research project proposed for this post-doctoral position is part of a large Canadian research initiative called AWARE (aware.forestry.ubc.ca) encompassing 25 research projects devoted to the development of methods for using LiDAR in forestry. This project is associated with a wide range of partners including the Canadian Forest Service, the Office National des Forêts in France, several forest companies in Canada and a network of university researchers worldwide, offering excellent opportunities to collaborate with leading researchers both in Canada and around the world.
The Applied Geomatics Department is the largest research centre dedicated to remote sensing in Canada. It is located at the Université de Sherbrooke, a French speaking university with about 15,000 students. Knowledge of French is helpful but not mandatory for this position. Sherbrooke, a city of about 160,000 people, is a dynamic regional pole offering a rich city life and surrounded by a vast choice of outdoor activities for all seasons. The city offers a bilingual experience, as it is home to both French and English universities.

Review of applications will begin on April. 1, 2016 and continue until the position is filled. Interested parties should send their CV and two letters of reference to:

Dr. Richard Fournier
Department of Applied Geomatics (FLSH)
Université de Sherbrooke
2500 boul de l’Université, Sherbrooke (Quebec) Canada J1K 2R1
E-mail: Richard.Fournier@USherbrooke.ca
Tel.: 1-819-821-8000 ext 63209

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

Our AGM will be held in Corner Brook, Newfoundland from May 24-26th, 2016. During this three day meeting, researchers will present the progress and findings of their research for the first year of AWARE’s research efforts. There will be plenty of opportunity to meet AWARE researchers and network with researchers, government and industry professionals. Attendance is limited and we are nearing capacity. If you’d like to attend, please contact Curtis Marr.

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Nicholas Coops, AWARE Research Leader
2424 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z4
Tel 604 822 6452

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