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Forest NSW Annual Report 2012

CASE STORY Forest management tool Forests NSW is expanding the use of remote To date, Forests NSW has collected more than sensing technology as a native forest 1 000 000 hectares of LiDAR data across the Benefits of LiDAR in native management tool. estate, either funded by the organisation or sourced from other Government agencies and forest management The tool is known as LiDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, a radar-like local authorities. One of the future challenges > Accurate information about slope system that uses near-infra red laser light will be to find ways to keep the data up to date classes and stream locations instead of radio waves. In a forest context, light in a cost-effective way, possibly by utilising pulses are sent from and received by a sensor other data sources. > Improved efficiencies in harvest in an aircraft and reflect off trees, shrubs, grass LiDAR is now used to varying extents as an planning and operations or the surface of the earth. This data can be operational forest management tool in all > Identification of old roads that can processed to produce two layers of data – the possibly be reused during harvestingnative forest regions. In 2012, coverage across ground level and the forest canopy level. North East Region will be completed and then > Assists with planning creek crossings The ground level data is processed to produce a extended to Southern Region. > Provides an indicator of forest digital elevation model that accurately depicts LiDAR also has the potential to be a useful tool productivity the ground surface and can be used to derive modelled stream networks and slope classes > Improved staff and contractor safetyin planted forests, particularly for inventory purposes Because of the different nature of and show the location of roads and many other > Use in operational harvesting features. As LiDAR penetrates the forest canopy, planted forests, individual trees and their height this provides a more accurate representation of can be detected. This year, Forests NSW built machinery using GPS available from aerial photo interpretation. undertook a pilot project to investigate the use Benefits of LiDAR inon earlier work by DPI forestry researchers and these landscape features than was previously This more accurate information assists foresters planted forestsof LiDAR to update net stocked area boundariesand support management planning in to plan harvesting operations by allowing staff plantations near Walcha. Recently, a number of > Tree heights for individual trees to quickly and easily identify areas with specific management requirements, while significantly > Counts of individual treesAustralian softwood growers, including Forests NSW, agreed to support a collaborative project reducing the amount of field work. This in > Inventory efficienciesto further develop the operational use of LiDAR turn has many safety benefits as much of the planning work can be done in the office, which in softwood plantations.  > Improved mapping of net stocked area reduces the amount of time spent by staff working in steep, uneven, overgrown, wet and slippery conditions. From the LiDAR canopy level data, estimates of the height of the tree canopy across the forest can also be obtained. This provides a useful proxy for the productivity of the forest and enables ground-based assessments to target areas of more productive forest when estimating the volume of timber available for harvesting. Forests NSW has found over many harvesting operations that the information from LiDAR has proven correct on the ground and accurate in providing timber volume estimates. During harvesting operations in some regions, the data has also been incorporated into operational machinery using global positioning systems (GPS). This assists harvesting contractors and field staff to more accurately know their location in relation to important landscape features. LiDAR shaded relief and modelled stream network based on the digital elevation model. Forests NSW Annual Report 2011–12 Social, Environmental and Economic Performance 33


Forest NSW Annual Report 2012
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