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CRC for Forestry News 11 - CRC co-hosts SilviLaser conference

Research scientists and practitioners from around the world gathered in Hobart in October to share their experience in the development and application of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) for forest assessment and inventory.

LiDAR is a remote sensing technology with many applications in the management of forests and forested landscapes. LiDAR can be operated from the air, from space or on the ground to generate three-dimensional data from which a wealth of information can be derived on the location, structure, biomass and carbon content of forests. Many Australian forest and environmental management agencies have captured LiDAR data at an operational scale for a range of applications and purposes, including fire damage assessment, hydrological management and management of riparian zones, planning of harvesting operations, resource inventory and forest health assessment.

SilviLaser 2011 was jointly hosted by the CRC for Forestry and the University of Tasmania. Some 130 delegates from 19 countries attended the conference, delivering 57 papers on a broad range of topics related to the application of LiDAR technology in forestry. Keynote speakers from Canada, Scotland, Finland and Australia set the scene for 10 sessions reporting on the latest developments in the field.

CRC for Forestry CEO, Professor Gordon Duff, opened the conference and provided an overview of key trends in Australian forestry and the CRC accomplishments in LiDAR research.

“LiDAR has come of age in the past few years, particularly in terms of its cutting-edge applications for the forest industry,” Professor Duff said.

“Silvilaser 2011 provided a good opportunity to showcase some of the work done by the CRC as well as the research capacity based in Hobart, and demonstrated the world-class standard of sustainable forest management in Tasmania,” he said.

CRC PhD student Muhammad Alam gave a presentation at the conference and said it gave delegates the opportunity to develop and strengthen relationships between researchers, users and data providers.

Conference convenor Jan Rombouts said LiDAR applications have been deployed operationally to assist forest ecosystem management in several countries around the world.

LiDAR octocopter imageLuke Wallace from the University of Tasmania uses the Oktokopter - an eight-rotor, battery powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for collecting LiDAR data over forests

“The overall conclusion from the conference was that many more applications will become operational as laser technology, analytical methods and data processing software develop further,” he said.

The next Silvilaser conference will be held in Vancouver in September 2012.