Detecting wildings using Lidar and aerial imagery

Scientists in Scion’s Geomatics team have found wilding conifers can be detected in grasslands using a combination of Lidar and multi-spectral values obtained from aerial imagery. 

Self-propagating conifers are invading indigenous and semi-native grass and shrub lands across large areas of New Zealand. Detecting and eradicating wildings before they start to produce cones is vital to controlling conifer spread and minimising their ecological and economic impact. Current methods rely on helicopter and ground-based surveys that are expensive and require highly-skilled observers.

Lidar proved useful in providing elevation data for detecting taller isolated trees in short vegetation, while the spectral properties of the wildings were useful for differentiating them from other trees and shrubs.

Source: ForestTECH

Image credit: Scion