A tractor-mounted scanning LIDAR for the non-destructive measurement of vegetative volume and surface area of tree-row plantations: a comparison with conventional destructive measurements
Gil Moya, Emilio
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The use of a low-cost tractor-mounted scanning Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) system for capable of making non-destructive recordings of tree-row structure in orchards and vineyards is described. Field tests consisted of several LIDAR measurements on both sides of the crop row, before and after defoliation of selected trees. Summary parameters describing the tree-row volume and the total crop surface area viewed by the LIDAR (expressed as a ratio with ground surface area) were derived using a suitable numerical algorithm. The results for apple and pear orchards and a wine producing vineyard were shown to be in reasonable agreement with the results derived from a destructive leaf sampling method. Also, good correlation was found between manual and sensor-based measurements of the vegetative volume of tree-row plantations. The Tree Area Index parameter, TAI, gave the best correlation between destructive and non-destructive (i.e. LIDAR-based) determinants of crop leaf area. The LIDAR system proved to be a powerful technique for low cost, prompt and non-destructive estimates of the volume and leaf-area characteristics of plants.