Canadian Forest Service Publications

Comparison of remote sensing and ground-based methods for determining residue burn pile wood volumes and biomass. 2014. Trofymow, J.A.; Coops, N.C.; Hayhurst, D. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 44: 182–194.

Year: 2014

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 35442

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1139/cjfr-2013-0281

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Following forest harvest, residues left on site are often piled and burned. Quantification of residue piles is required in many jurisdictions to estimate billable waste, harvest efficiency, smoke emissions, C budgets, and available bioenergy biomass. Piled residues and harvested wood were measured on four blocks of a second-growth Douglas-fir forest in coastal British Columbia. Pile wood volumes were determined by two ground-based methods (a Waste and Residue Survey (WRS) and a geometric equation (EEP) used for smoke emissions) and by two geospatial methods using orthophotography (GIS) and LiDAR. Eight sample piles were disassembled to determine plot densities (PD) and packing ratios (PR). Plot density did not differ between theWRSand GIS method. Packing ratios of the EEP were 50% of that of the LiDAR method. LiDAR pile bulk volume and PR were negatively correlated. Choice of LiDAR digital elevation model had no significant effect on pile bulk volumes. TheWRSmethod underestimated pile areas by 50% and the EEP method overestimated pile bulk volumes by two times. Pile wood volumes from theWRSmethod (20.0m3·ha−1 (SE 2.8)) were 30%–50% of those for all other methods (46.1–60.4 m3·ha−1). The EEP method overestimated wood volume if nonspecific PRs were used. The residues to harvest ratio for theWRSmethod (3.3% (SE 0.45)) was lower than for all other methods (7.5%–9.6%). Total pile wood biomass from LiDAR was 25.4 t dry mass·ha−1 (SE 5.9). Ground-based methods are still required to determine PD or PR. Since their estimation depends on the method used to determine pile area or bulk volume, and may vary with pile size and type, they remain the major source of uncertainty in determining pile wood volumes. However, use of remote sensing techniques to determine the area or bulk volume of all piles in a cutblock can improve estimates of pile wood volumes and biomass.

Plain Language Summary

Wood residue (non‐merchantable wood material left after harvesting) is often left on site and piled and burned. Forest managers want to know how much wood is left in these piles so they can estimate i) the efficiency and wastage of the harvest operation; ii) the amount of potential smoke from burning the piles; iii) carbon budgets; and iv) the potential use for bioenergy. Traditionally, ‘ground-based methods’ were used to measure the residue piles; newer technology includes remote sensing and laser. In this study, researchers compared techniques currently used to measure the amount of wood residue. At their study site, a clearcut forest on Vancouver Island, they compared two ground-based methods (Waste and Residue Survey and a geometric equation) with two remote sensing (or geospatial) methods (orthophotography and LiDAR). Their results indicate that in comparison to geospatial methods, the Waste and Residue Survey method underestimated pile wood volumes, and the geometric equation method overestimated bulk pile volumes. They concluded that ground based methods are still required to determine some site specific measurements, however using remote sensing techniques to determine the area or bulk volume of all piles in a cutblock can improve the estimates of residue pile wood volumes and biomass.