Vegetation structure is important for measuring forest growth and the carbon cycle. Developed by the University of Salford and Halo Photonics Ltd, the Salford Advanced Laser Canopy Analyser (SALCA) is a unique multi-spectral, full waveform laser scanner using two wavelengths allowing distinction between leaves and woody material. This blog follows our research funded by the UK NERC and involving University of Newcastle, University College London and UK Forest Research.
saw 70 researchers from around the world attend a two-day meeting at the Royal
Society’s country venue, Chicheley Hall, in Northamptonshire, to discuss “The
Terrestrial Laser Scanning Revolution in Forest Ecology”. The meeting,
organised by Mark Danson, was a Theo Murphy Scientific Meeting funded by The Royal Society and
featured a star line-up of keynote presentations by researchers from around
the world, with associated discussion and poster sessions. The speakers were
drawn from the UK, US, Germany, Finland, Australia, China and Switzerland with
other participants representing a further five countries.
laser scanners, or TLS for short, provide detailed three-dimensional
measurements of forests, by firing millions of laser pulses up into the
canopy.The information recorded can
then be used to monitor changes in forest structure and biomass with
unprecedented accuracy. These measurements are set to revolutionize the way in
which ecologists measure forests, and will help determine whether forests are
acting as carbon sinks, absorbing excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, or
carbon sources, adding to the greenhouse effect.
discussed the technology, applications and challenges of using TLS in forest
ecology and showed how it is essential to improve the accuracy of measurements
of the biomass of forests so as to better quantify the storage of carbon in
such ecosystems. TLS devices can do this by ‘weighing trees with lasers’ based
on three-dimensional reconstructions of complete forests. The dynamic nature of
forest growth was another important theme with Professor Danson describing how
a new TLS device, the Salford Advanced Laser Canopy Analyser, or SALCA for
short, can be used to map the growth and fall of leaves in UK woodlands.
Outputs from the meeting will include a special issue of the Royal Society’s
in-house journal Interface Focus which will be edited by Professor Danson and
his colleagues from the Universities of Newcastle, University College London