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Biomass estimation using full-waveform TLS

BCAL is developing methods to estimate biomass of sagebrush and western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis var. occidentalis Hook) at the individual shrub/tree level. 3D point cloud data from a full-waveform terrestrial laser scanner (TLS) are used, along with data processing techniques for the biomass estimates.


Full waveform data from terrestrial laser scanning of vegetation

Sixteen juniper trees were randomly selected using a double sampling strategy from different height classes. Each juniper tree was scanned in the field with a full-waveform scanner (Riegl VZ1000). Two scans were performed from opposite directions of each tree. The trees were destructively sampled, and oven dried to measure dry biomass of each component (foliage, branches and main stem). Relationships were established between the biomass components and branch diameter and the TLS-extracted components and the biomass, and biomass components and tree height. Similar methods are used for estimating the green and woody components of sagebrush biomass. This work is currently underway by BCAL students and post-docs. Master’s student Peter Olsoy will present his results in April 2013 for his thesis defense.

For more information, please contact Nancy Glenn at  (208) 373-1819 or

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