Recovery of Forest Canopy Parameters by Inversion of Multispectral LiDAR Data

Andrew Michael Wallace, Caroline Nichol, Iain Woodhouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


We describe the use of Bayesian inference techniques, notably Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) and reversible jump MCMC (RJMCMC) methods, to recover forest structural and biochemical parameters from multispectral LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data. We use a variable dimension, multi-layered model to represent a forest canopy or tree, and discuss the recovery of structure and depth profiles that relate to photochemical properties. We first demonstrate how simple vegetation indices such as the Normalized Differential Vegetation Index (NDVI), which relates to canopy biomass and light absorption, and Photochemical Reflectance Index (PRI) which is a measure of vegetation light use efficiency, can be measured from multispectral data. We further describe and demonstrate our layered approach on single wavelength real data, and on simulated multispectral data derived from real, rather than simulated, data sets. This evaluation shows successful recovery of a subset of parameters, as the complete recovery problem is ill-posed with the available data. We conclude that the approach has promise, and suggest future developments to address the current difficulties in parameter inversion
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-531
Number of pages23
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2012


  • laser radar
  • multispectral canopy LiDAR
  • forest structure and biochemistry
  • parameter inversion
  • Monte Carlo methods
  • Markov processes


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