Forest researchers trial remote sensing technologies

In ForestTECH, Issue11 by FIEA

Leading researchers from Australia and New Zealand converged on Carabost State Forest in late February to test state-of-the-art sensor equipment mounted on unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) prototypes and a helicopter. The trans-Tasman group of 14 scientists from the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), SCION, the University of Tasmania and Interpine spent three days in the Pinus radiata plantation capturing research data.

The Carabost State Forest is a Pinus radiata plantation managed by Forestry Corporation of NSW. The project is partly funded by Forest and Wood Products Australia and collaborating forest growers with in-kind support from the SCION, University of Tasmania, NSW Department of Primary Industries and Interpine.

DPI Leader Forest Science Dr Christine Stone said through collaboration with forest industry service providers and robotic scientists, the project aims to deliver efficient, customised plantation assessment dataflow solutions.

“We are harnessing the latest technological developments in remote sensors and platforms for the capture and processing of 3D dense point cloud data for plantation resource assessment,” Dr Stone said. “It’s an exciting space to be – in Carabost, we tested out the most advanced remote sensor technology currently available for forestry applications.”

“The sensors on these platforms are capable of acquiring ultra-high density point cloud datasets, suitable for tree-level on screen visual assessments and 3D reconstruction modelling. Using the information captured last week, the study will allow us to assist timber plantation growers to optimise the extraction of tree-level resource information from remotely acquired data.”

Interpine Operations Manager Bruce Hill said, “We are looking to collect LiDAR data inside the forest and then do virtual cruising in the computer.” This field campaign is part of trans-Tasman research project, “Optimising remotely acquired, dense point could data for plantation inventory”.

Photo: VUX-1LR LiDAR sensor mounted on a helicopter. From left to right: Ryan Jaffe, Ryan Judd, Glen Morey, Bruce Hill, Barbara Del Perugia, Christine Stone, Susana Gonzalez and Arko Lucieer.

Source: Interpine

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