Plot-level reconstruction of 3D tree models for aboveground biomass estimation

Guangpeng Fan, Zhenyu Xu, Jinhu Wang, Liangliang Nan, Huijie Xiao, Zhiming Xin, Feixiang Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
61 Downloads (Pure)


Complexity of forest structure is an important factor contributing to uncertainty in aboveground biomass estimates. In this study, we present a new method for reducing uncertainty in forest aboveground biomass (AGB) estimation based on plot-level terrestrial laser scanner (TLS) point clouds reconstruction. The method estimates the total AGB of plots with complex structures after automatically performing the steps of ground point filtering, single tree segmentation, and three-dimensional (3D) structure reconstruction. We used plot data from temperate and tropical forest ecosystems to verify the effectiveness of the method, reconstructing a 1300 m2 temperate plantation plot and a 5000 m2 mingled forest plot, respectively. The total biomass of 153 trees in the plantation plot was overestimated by 17.12 %, and the total biomass of 61 trees in the mingled forest plot was underestimated by 10.88 %. We found that the uncertainty of aboveground biomass estimation in tropical forests with more complex structures is not necessarily greater than in plantations. Therefore, in large-scale remote sensing observations of forest biomass, the number or area of plots can be increased to reduce the uncertainty of the results caused by the complex structure. The focus of this study is to explore TLS point clouds modeling methods to reduce the uncertainty in AGB estimation caused by the complexity of forest structures, and to provide reference cases for plot-level point clouds reconstruction methods. Forest ecologists can use this method to regularly observe forest growth and obtain indicators related to forest ecology without destroying trees.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109211
Number of pages10
JournalEcological Indicators
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Above-ground biomass
  • Complex forest structure
  • Estimation uncertainty
  • Plot-level
  • TLS point clouds


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