Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2019

Semester of Degree

May

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

M.S. in Forest and Natural Resources Management

Department

Forest and Natural Resources Management

Major Professor

Eddie Bevilacqua

Steering Committee Member

Jane M. Read

Steering Committee Member

Lindi J. Quackenbush

Abstract

The main purpose of this study is to evaluate the potential improvements in forest biomass estimation by using commercially accessible and affordable small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) imagery. For this goal, total aboveground biomass is quantified by: field enumeration of all n = 1,919 trees in a Norway spruce (Picea abies) plantation; obtaining UAS imagery from over the plantation; indirect estimation of tree size distribution using UAS imagery; comparison of two methods for estimating tree crown area from UAS imagery; and linear correlations between field measurements and photo-based crown area estimates. Results showed generally weak correlation between field measurements of above-ground biomass and UAS-derived crown area estimates. To improve forest biomass estimation, recommended refinements were detailed.

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