Retrieval of vegetative fluid resistance terms for rigid stems using airborne lidar.

James Brasington, Keith S. Richards, A. S. Antonarakis, E. Muller, Mike Bithell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
137 Downloads (Pure)


Hydraulic resistance of riparian forests is an unknown but important term in flood conveyance modeling. Lidar has proven to be a very important new data source to physically characterize floodplain vegetation. This research outlines a recent campaign that aims to retrieve vegetation fluid resistance terms from airborne laser scanning to parameterize trunk roughness. Information on crown characteristics and vegetation spacing can be extracted for individual trees to aid in the determining of trunk stem morphology. Airborne lidar data were used to explore the potential to characterize some of the prominent tree morphometric properties from natural and planted riparian poplar zones such as tree position, tree height, trunk location, and tree spacing. Allometric equations of tree characteristics extrapolated from ground measurements were used to infer below-canopy morphometric variables. Results are presented from six riparian-forested zones on the Garonne and Allier rivers in southern and central France. The tree detection and crown segmentation (TDCS) method identified individual trees with 85% accuracy, and the TreeVaW method detected trees with 83% accuracy. Tree heights were overall estimated at both river locations with an RMSE error of around 19% for both methods, but crown diameter at the six sites produced large deviations from ground-measured values of above 40% for both methods. Total height-derived trunk diameters using the TDCS method produced the closest roughness coefficient values to the ground-derived roughness coefficients. The stem roughness values produced from this method fell within guideline values.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Issue numberG2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2008


  • fluid resistance
  • airborne lidar
  • riparian forests
  • stem roughness
  • allometry


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