Understanding the effects of als pulse density for metric retrieval across diverse forest types

Phil Wilkes, Simon D. Jones, Lola Suarez, Andrew Haywood, William Woodgate, Mariela Soto-Berelov, Andrew Mellor, Andrew K. Skidmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Pulse density, the number of laser pulses that intercept a surface per unit area, is a key consideration when acquiring an Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) dataset. This study compares area-based vegetation structure metrics derived from multireturn ALS simulated at six pulse densities (0.05 to 4 pl m-2) across a range of forest types: from savannah woodlands to dense rainforests. Results suggest that accurate measurement of structure metrics (canopy height, canopy cover, and vertical canopy structure) can be achieved with a pulse density of 0.5 pl m-2 across all forest types when compared to a dataset of 10 pl m-2. For pulse densities <0.5 pl m-2, two main sources of error lead to inaccuracies in estimation: the poor identification of the ground surface and sparse vegetation cover leading to under sampling of the canopy profile. This analysis provides useful information for land managers determining capture specifications for large-area ALS acquisitions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-635
Number of pages11
JournalPhotogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding the effects of als pulse density for metric retrieval across diverse forest types'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this