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The use of LiDAR technology it can prove very useful in the management of woodland and forestry heritage. For example, providing a very accurate assessment of the quantity of trees and timber (the so-called wood stock) present in a given area, as an alternative to the ground surveys which are very expensive in mountain environments.
There LiDAR technology is an excellent example of how hi-tech can be a valuable ally of modern forestry and agriculture, improving the quality of work and results without environmental contraindications. But what does this technology consist of?
LiDAR is the English acronym for Laser Imaging Detection and Raging and actually consists of one technology remote sensing based on the use of laser pulses that allows you to determine the distance to an object or surface, but also the concentration of chemicals related to chemical species such as water.
The problems of the forest-wood supply chain, as highlighted in the recent edition of the BOSTER Fair in Belluno, range from the quantification and qualification of the resources of forest stands to the optimization of cutting operations. Then there are problems of setting up, logging and transport of the material to the industries that carry out the first processing.
The experiences conducted so far highlight the great potential provided by the use of LiDAR technology to support forest management. The data LiDAR offers the possibility of automatically locating each individual tree within a forest, measuring its height and also the area occupied by the canopy.
Starting from this information, which can be integrated with precision orthophotos, and with the execution of appropriate surveys in the field, it is possible to create very precise maps of the distribution of the trees but above all of the woody volumes in the forest, a necessary prerequisite for forest planning.
But not only. With the LiDAR technology it is possible to push the survey beyond the crowns and reach the ground to reconstruct three-dimensional models of the terrain with a degree of resolution approaching 50 centimeters. The precise description of the topographical conditions provides information on the possibilities of accessing the wood material.
The digital model LiDAR it allows, for example, to identify the presence of a forest road system, to measure its roughness and slopes, and consequently to evaluate choosing the most suitable means for logging operations. In fact, we must not forget that in the mountains the ground conditions are the main technical, but also economic, limit to the efficiency of forest management strategies.