Wednesday, 6 May 2015

US National Science Foundation funds collaborative research on ecological applications of terrestrial laser scanning

International funding from the US National Science Foundation (NSF) has been secured to support work to measure and monitor change in terrestrial biomass and carbon in forest environments. Researchers from the School of Environment and Life Sciences will join an international network of scientists developing new approaches to measure forest structure and function using terrestrial laser scanners (TLS). TLS provide detailed three-dimensional measurements of forests by firing millions of laser pulses up into the canopy and recording information that can be used to monitor changes in forest biomass with unprecedented accuracy. Salford has been at the forefront of TLS research for several years and the team lead by Professor Mark Danson recently developed the Salford Advance Canopy Analyser (SALCA), a novel TLS that has produced the most detailed measurements of forest structure ever made.

As part of the $500,000 NSF grant the Salford team will take part in collaborative workshops and TLS inter-calibration activities in the US, and host meetings of the project group in Salford.  Exchange of staff between the US participants at the University of Boston, and University of Massachsetts, and the University of Salford will also take place. Professor Danson is a member of the project Steering Committee that will guide project development. The project is led by Professor Alan Strahler from the University of Boston and includes groups from University College London, UK, University of Wageningen, Netherlands, and University of Queensland, Australia. 

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