A Comparative Study of Predicting DBH and Stem Volume of Individual Trees in a Temperate Forest Using Airborne Waveform LiDAR

Jianwei Wu, Wei Yao, Sungho Choi, Taejin Park, Ranga B. Myneni

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Using airborne full-waveform LiDAR metrics derived by 3-D tree segmentation, this study estimated single tree's diameter at breast height (DBH) and stem volume (STV). Four regression models were used, including multilinear regression and three up-to-date regression models (i.e., least square boosting trees regression, random forest, and ε-support vector regression) from the machine learning field. This study aimed to comparatively evaluate these regression models in predicting DBH and STV at single-tree level and find some clues to regression model's selection. The study sites were located in the Bavarian Forest National Park, Germany, a mixed temperate mountain forest. Our comparisons were performed across different tree species types (coniferous and deciduous) and foliage conditions (leaf-on/leaf-off seasons). The importance of predictor variables was also examined. Experimental results revealed that the best accuracy from machine learning methods outperformed the multilinear model by 1.5 cm for DBH and 0.18 m3for STV in terms of rmse. Through comparative analysis, our work provided some clues to the performance variation of regression models for extracting 3-D tree parameters.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7229269
Pages (from-to)2267-2271
Number of pages5
JournalIEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Accuracy
  • Boosting
  • Laser radar
  • Predictive models
  • Radio frequency
  • Regression tree analysis
  • Vegetation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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