DOI: 10.3390/rs16061021 ISSN: 2072-4292

Benchmarking Geometry-Based Leaf-Filtering Algorithms for Tree Volume Estimation Using Terrestrial LiDAR Scanners

Moonis Ali, Bharat Lohani, Markus Hollaus, Norbert Pfeifer
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences

Terrestrial LiDAR scanning (TLS) has the potential to revolutionize forestry by enabling the precise estimation of aboveground biomass, vital for forest carbon management. This study addresses the lack of comprehensive benchmarking for leaf-filtering algorithms used in TLS data processing and evaluates four widely recognized geometry-based leaf-filtering algorithms (LeWoS, TLSeparation, CANUPO, and a novel random forest model) across openly accessible TLS datasets from diverse global locations. Multiple evaluation dimensions are considered, including pointwise classification accuracy, volume comparisons using a quantitative structure model applied to wood points, computational efficiency, and visual validation. The random forest model outperformed the other algorithms in pointwise classification accuracy (overall accuracy = 0.95 ± 0.04), volume comparison (R-squared = 0.96, slope value of 0.98 compared to destructive volume), and resilience to reduced point cloud density. In contrast, TLSeparation exhibits the lowest pointwise classification accuracy (overall accuracy = 0.81 ± 0.10), while LeWoS struggles with volume comparisons (mean absolute percentage deviation ranging from 32.14 ± 29.45% to 49.14 ± 25.06%) and point cloud density variations. All algorithms show decreased performance as data density decreases. LeWoS is the fastest in terms of processing time. This study provides valuable insights for researchers to choose appropriate leaf-filtering algorithms based on their research objectives and forest conditions. It also hints at future possibilities for improved algorithm design, potentially combining radiometry and geometry to enhance forest parameter estimation accuracy.

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